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The research catalogue is an archive of ESRC-funded grants and outputs. Links, files and other content will no longer be maintained or updated after April 2014.

The Enactment and Impact of Key Stage 4 Science Education Reforms

Since 2006 schools in England have been responding to major changes in the science curriculum for 14-16 year olds. A wider variety of science courses are available with more emphasis on applied science and teaching about socio-scientific issues. This study examines school responses to this major curriculum reform. A particular focus is teacher enactment of the science curriculum in the classroom. The study is also investigating the initial impact of these reforms on student achievement, attitudes towards science education and participation in post-compulsory science courses. The study combines nationally representative data, using the National Pupil Database, and in-depth school-based case studies. Data will be collected over a three year period enabling a longitudinal analysis of the developing enactment and impact of these reforms in the initial years. The study will identify any targeting by schools of specific courses on students with particular characteristics and any differential success across courses in terms of student achievement and uptake of post-compulsory science education. The study will also provide a generalised account of factors impacting on student attitudes to school science and their participation in post-compulsory science courses.