AQA recognising the excellent work of Bosworth staff
Sue Winship teaches A-level Chemistry at Bosworth, and this year she has been working as an Adviser with the exam board AQA to monitor the new A-level Science practical endorsement.
This has involved Sue providing support to a large number of science teachers, advising them on how to plan, assess and track a student’s progress against the new Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) at A-level to make sure their assessment of the CPAC is accurate.
Sue began by attending a one-day training session with AQA to enable her to then take on this role. Each Adviser is allocated ten schools, so Sue commenced ten visits in ten days to schools in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire. In the majority of cases, she met with the Head of Chemistry and during her visit she would observe a practical taking place, moderate their practical assessments records, and offer advice and support about the implementation of the new practical assessment criteria. Then after her site visit Sue had to write up a report on each school and feedback to AQA.
The recent changes initiated by the exam boards are that all schools need to carry out 12 required practicals in every Science across the two-year A-level course. This is to ensure that students are confident to use both apparatus and techniques that they would find in a university laboratory setting, and that they can work independently and safely. It is the responsibility of each school to assess the students against the five areas of the Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) to ensure that the students can ‘consistently and routinely’ meet the pass standard for each CPAC over the 2 year A-level course. Following this, the students will receive a Practical endorsement from AQA which is needed for university. The five CPAC’s are: 1. Follows written procedures. 2. Applies investigative approaches and methods when using instruments and equipment. 3. Safely uses a range of practical equipment and materials. 4. Makes and records observations. 5. Researches, references and reports.
Having this knowledge and knowing what AQA were looking for, has also been invaluable for Bosworth as Sue was able to share her insights with her colleagues in Chemistry, Biology and Physics, ahead of our AQA Adviser visit.
AQA wrote to tell Sue, ‘At a recent team leader evaluation meeting your contribution to the highly successful monitoring we have collectively done during 2015-17 was thought to be outstanding. The level of support provided was very valuable to a large number of science teachers and you have been a pleasure to work with. We really hope that you will be able to support future projects. Without this help we would not have been able to really embed CPAC in schools and colleges across the country.’
For more information on our A-level Chemistry course