Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Comparing A-level Physics 2015 Update

UPDATE Feb 2015:

Ned Prideaux has helpfully updated the spreadsheet using the accredited specs.
He has also included boundary data (from the 2014 series) from Ronan McDonald which may be of interest as well.

The document is online as a google doc and is best downloaded into Excel for viewing.

The exam boards have published their draft specifications for the A-level sciences - albeit with huge caveats about them not yet being accredited by Ofqual.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

@Bio_Joe has helpfully put together a comparison for the A-level biology specs, so I've used his basic structure and done the same for the Physics.

AQA, Edexcel and WJEC Eduqas have produced one specification each - although Edexcel still have the spec repeated so that you can teach by concept or context (though the exam is the same however you teach it).  AQA haven't included a context driven approach in their spec, but will be providing a scheme of work to show how you could do this using the published specification.  OCR has produced two specs, including Advancing Physics, whch are examined using different exams.

Most of the boards have arranged topics so that the AS and the first few A-level topics are the same.  Interestingly, WJEC Eduqas hasn't, and the topics are in slightly different orders for each year.  I don't think that will be a bit issue, but it will need a bit of thinking about when planning the teaching.

Multiple choice.
Both AQA and Pearson Edexcel have included some multiple choice questions in the assessment model.

Practical work.
All the boards have, as required, specified practical work that must be carried out for the practical endorsement. There is some overlap in the practicals (for example g by freefall and Young (or Young's) modulus appear in all the specs.  AQA and OCR have stopped at the minimum of 12 practical.  This includes 'Research skills' for OCR and allows students to explore a physics topic they are interested in via books and 'tinternet.Edexcel have included 16 practicals as their minimum. 

WJEC Eduqas have specified far more practicals than the other boards (including for example investigation of radioactive decay via a dice analogy or determination of h using LEDs) which would provide a really nice skeleton of a practical teaching scheme.  To be honest, even if you don't choose this spec, it's worth having a look at the practical work they suggest to help you plan as there are some good straightforward ideas in there.

It's quite a big document so I've resorted to a google spreadsheet.  Please feel free to use, with acknowledgement.