Bethan Foulkes, Science Subject Advisor
In this blog, I answer some of the most common questions asked by teachers starting to teach our Entry Level Certificate in Science qualification. This course has been designed with flexibility in mind to allow you to deliver science to your students whilst meeting their needs and boosting their science confidence.
There is a candidate record card that needs to completed for each student. There are two versions – a printable one, and an interactive pdf. The interactive candidate record card will automatically calculate totals for you and convert marks to the relevant points.
We advise you to fill out the candidate record cards as you progress through the course, rather than all just before the submission date in May.
To help plan how many points your students need to aim for, it’s useful to look at the previous year’s grade boundaries for a Level 1, a Level 2 and a Level 3. You can find these in the grade boundaries archive.
In short, no. We do recommend that candidates sit at least one biology, one chemistry and one physics end-of-item test, but there is no requirement to sit all the tests.
There are 36 end-of-item tests: 12 for biology, 12 for chemistry and 12 for physics. It is up to you which end-of-item tests your students sit, and you can choose the topics that meet the strengths and needs of your students.
There are two versions of end-of-item tests found on Teach Cambridge under controlled materials. These are version 3 and version 4. You can use either version with your students, and you can use them in combination, so students can sit version 3 for one topic, and version 4 for another.
You can download these and keep them secure within your centre as they are the same tests year on year. We will let you know if these tests do get updated via our subject updates, which you can sign up for here.
You can use your professional judgement when it comes to mark schemes; there may be other acceptable answers than those listed. You need to annotate on the test paper and the mark scheme so your moderator can understand why you have given the mark.
These skills can be signed off whilst carrying out practical activities for the practical task; they do not have to be carried out separately.
Can do tasks do need to be completed throughout the course, and the candidate record card should reflect this. Signing off all the can do tasks on the same day is not in the spirit of the qualification.
You need to ensure the can-do tasks meet the categories that are given in the support booklet on pages 65-68. We provide examples of can-do tasks that meet these categories, but you can choose to do different ones to the examples given.
Can-do tasks do not have to be completed if it is not possible for a student to do so.
Yes, you can practice sections of the write-up with your students, such as planning a method and drawing results tables and so on.
The final piece of work submitted has to have all aspects relating to the same practical. However, different students can have final write-ups for different practicals.
You cannot provide too much scaffolding for your students (such as sentence starters) but there are example practical tasks on the website with questions written to guide the students, based on the most common practical tasks carried out. These can be used for practice or for the final piece.
There are several suggested practical tasks that you can do with your students, but you can also pick your own task.
It is important to ensure that whatever you decide to do, the practical produces data that can be put into a line graph. Producing data that can only go into a bar graph will limit the marks your students can achieve.
End-of-item tests and practical tasks must be marked in red ink.
For end-of-item tests, correct answers need to be indicated with a tick (✓) and wrong or too vague answers with a cross (X). Omissions should be indicated by the use of the ^ sign. It is important that all responses from your students show clearly that they have been considered.
Practical tasks should have a commentary completed against the performance descriptors, making it clear why you have or have not given marks. Explanatory annotation made on the work is also useful to help your moderator understand decisions you have made when assigned marks.
The support handbook has examples of marked end-of-item tests and practical tasks, with comments and advice from the principal moderator. It also includes a copy of a completed candidate record card.
Yes, your students can progress onto GCSE Science if you choose. For all of our topics, we have mapping to both our Gateway Combined Science Suite and our Twenty First Century Science Suite so you can see what GCSE content your students have already covered.
These mapping documents can be found on our Teach Cambridge website.
If you have any questions, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, call us on 01223 553998 or tweet us @OCR_Science. You can also sign up to subject updates and receive information about resources and support. You can also sign up for our free Starting to Teach CPD event on 12th September.
Bethan joined OCR in April 2019 and is a subject advisor for GCSE Sciences and Applied Science. Before joining OCR, Bethan taught Biology to 11-18 year olds for 8 years. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Bethan mentored PGCE students and NQTs in science, and oversaw all the trainees and NQTs within the school as a professional tutor. In her spare time, she enjoys dressmaking, quilting and many other different crafts.