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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 seconds IAN: With regards to the new GCSE, all of the exam questions, or a significant number of them, are all talking about science in context. So if you’re treating something, as I was, for photosynthesis; if you’re talking about exactly what photosynthesis is, to make it more relevant to actually use examples of it. To use it in context, so pupils can actually relate to it easier. Because three quarters of the GCSE questions are using science in context. There is going to be much less recall in the new GCSE, compared to the old ones. So if you can actually put it in context, pupils are going to relate to it to a higher standard.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds If they relate to it to a higher standard, they’re more likely to actually remember it. Then when we come to a GCSE in the exam questions, they’re likely to actually build on that and get better GCSE marks.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds HAYLEY: So in terms of lessons with students, you tend to see that they are a lot more engaged. I know that we’re trying to embed now a lot more real life context, and things like that. And we do pupil voice twice a year with each year group. And we can see definitely, especially at Key Stage four, there’s a more happier science lesson now, in terms of students. There’s a lot more students saying they’re a lot happier, and finding subjects more relevant. So that is being seen through pupil’s voice.

Teacher perspectives: impact on student learning

In this video, teachers explain their view of how career learning has a positive impact on student learning.

Research shows that in young people the connection-making process in the brain is still developing, and so students need support in seeing the link between the new context and their prior learning. (You can find out more about this on our Science of Learning course!)

In many of the new GCSE exams (England and Wales; 15-16 year old students) there is now a much greater emphasis on applying learning in unfamiliar contexts. The same may be true for exam specifications in your country.

Linking curriculum learning to the world of work helps students make more connections between their learning by seeing it applied in different situations.


How do you support students in making connections between real world examples and their own learning?

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This video is from the free online course:

Linking Curriculum Learning to STEM Careers

National STEM Learning Centre