- Start date: 1 March 2004
- End date: 31 July 2006
21st Century Science is a newly-developed GCSE curriculum which consists of three inter-linked courses named Core, General and Applied. This evaluation project is focusing on the Core course whose central aims are to equip students with:
- a deep understanding of key Science Explanations
- an understanding of certain Ideas-about-Science.
The project started in Spring 2004 and finished in Autumn 2006.
The aim of this evaluation is to probe students' understandings of key Science Explanations and specific Ideas-about-Science. This is being carried out in two ways:
- Longitudinally: to characterize and document changes in students' understandings that develop as students follow the course and to evaluate those changes in relation to the aims of 21st Century Science.
- Comparatively: in order to compare changes in understandings of students following the 21st Century Science course with similar students following other GCSE courses.
The evaluation is based on a carefully selected national sample of students who started the pilot 21st Century Science programme in September 2004, along with a comparison group of students following other GCSE courses. Both sets of students complete the same written response questions probing their understandings of key Science Explanations and specific Ideas-about-Science. These surveys are set at the start of Year 10, the end of Year 10 and end of Year 11 for the 21st Century Science students, and at the start of Year 10 and the end of Year 11 for the comparison group.