This item was published during the term of a previous administration that ended in April 2007
Report into improving achievement in science
HM Inspectorate of Education today published a report which dentifies good practice in teaching and learning and further ways to improve pupils' achievement in science subjects.
- Overall attainment at P1-P4 and in the separate sciences at S3 to S6 was strong.
- The introduction of new levels of award through the new National Qualifications has successfully widened access to an increasing number of learners.
- Science programmes are improving in primary schools and NQ courses are developing well in secondary schools.
- There are improvements in science teaching in both primary and secondary schools, particularly with regard to the use of interactive approaches and ICT.
Improving Achievement in Science in Primary and Secondary Schools also identifies some key areas in which improvement is needed. These include:
- Continuing weaknesses in the pace of learning and attainment at the upper primary and lower secondary stages;
- Weaknesses in pupils' experiences and attainment in the Standard Grade science course and in Access and Intermediate 1 courses.
- Content in a number of sciences courses that is becoming increasingly out-of-date
The report makes recommendations for schools, education authorities and national education bodies, including Executive and Learning and Teaching Scotland, on ways to improve achievement and attainment.
Key recommendations include:
- Establishing closer collaboration between primary and secondary schools to improve provision between P6 and S2;
- Establishing more responsive ways of keeping the content of courses and the skills and knowledge of teachers fully up-to-date; and
- Reviewing provision to ensure that all pupils leave school prepared to make informed decisions about the science they will encounter as adult citizens, regardless of their chosen career.
Graham Donaldson, HMIE's Senior Chief Inspector said:
"Scientific understanding must not be just for the few. We all take decisions daily which require such understanding. All our young people need sound scientific knowledge and skills if they are to play their full part as citizens in a modern Scotland.
"There are real strengths in science teaching in schools across Scotland. I am pleased to see improving standards and the benefits of improved investment in the subject. Our schools continue to produce some very able young scientists.
"However, too many pupils leave school with little interest in science and insufficient awareness about its influence on their lives. Science itself is constantly growing and evolving. More needs to be done to enthuse all young people about science and to make sure that courses are updated to reflect and excite interest in the latest developments and discoveries. The knowledge and skills of our teachers also need frequent refreshing to ensure relevant and effective teaching and learning.
"We are committed to working with schools, councils and other organisations to improve standards in science. This report identifies a number of areas for action. It should be of particular relevance to the review of the 3-18 science curriculum being undertaken in relation to A Curriculum for Excellence."