Commentary - 6 minute read
Sylvia Grice, OCR Science Subject Advisor
We have just finished our series of eight online Science Teacher Network meetings. All of the Science Subject Advisors were involved in showcasing some of our current and upcoming resources, as well as discussing the known and the unknowns about the autumn 2020 and summer 2021 exams series.
In addition, we listened and responded to questions from over 750 of our science teachers. We've never hosted teacher networks online before, they've proven to be incredibly popular and we really appreciate the feedback from everyone who joined us.
You can watch or listen to recordings from the most recent meetings, so you can easily navigate the content we have included the timestamps and details can be found in the table below. While you watch a recorded session if you want to read the chat just click on the purple arrow at the bottom right of the screen.
These meetings provided a great platform for our teachers to ask any questions they had. To help we have collated responses to some of the most frequently asked questions below.
Will OCR be adjusting the requirements for the PAGs and/ or monitoring visits for 2020-2021?
We are waiting on Ofqual to publish their decisions following their consultation on the proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A Levels in 2021. Their proposals for specific subjects can be found on p.16-43. You can respond to the consultation until 11:45pm on 16 July 2020.
What guidance will there be for schools on carrying out practical work and on what aspects should I focus on?
When Ofqual’s summer 2021 consultation decisions are published we will be able to look into this further. CLEAPSS are also providing guidance to schools and updating it regularly.
Who can sit OCR science exams in the autumn 2020 series?
The autumn series will be limited to students who had been entered for exams this summer, as well as to students who the exam board believes had intended to enter for those exams.
Will OCR be holding further online science teacher meetings?
Yes, we are planning on holding online science teacher meetings during the autumn term. We are also looking at hosting additional online science teacher meetings when Ofqual publish their decisions regarding summer 2021, date dependent.
Are OCR’s Summer Highlights documents securely held on Interchange?
No, these are freely available on the relevant qualification pages. The points are removed from the context of the question so they don’t give much away about exam questions themselves.
What secure papers does OCR have that we can use for mock exams?
All summer 2019 exam papers are currently kept securely on Interchange. There are additional practise papers kept securely – GCSE qualifications have one set and A Level qualifications have two sets. These are available on the qualifications assessment page under the practise papers and mark schemes tab.
In addition, Cambridge International Resource Plus is now available to use free of charge. Whilst these resources are not mapped to our specifications, they do have exam questions which teachers may find useful to adapt. They can be found by accessing the equivalent Cambridge International qualification page, clicking on revision materials and are named topic questions.
It is likely that the exam papers intended for summer 2020 will be used for the autumn 2020 series. These will be available on Interchange following those exams.
When OCR’s online multiple choice question quizzes are available, will we be able to edit them as teachers?
Yes, you will need to make a copy of the quiz which you will be able to edit to suit.
When will the upcoming OCR resources be available?
These are beginning to be uploaded now and will continue throughout the summer. Email updates will be sent out periodically and posted on Twitter.
Yes, we are planning online science teacher meetings during the autumn term. We are also looking at hosting additional online science teacher meetings when Ofqual publish their decisions regarding summer 2021, date dependent.
How do I keep up to date with science at OCR?
Sign up to our email updates. If you are having any problems with this, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In our meetings we highlighted some of current resources. We also gave our delegates a sneak peek at the resources we have in the pipeline to support teaching and learning as schools return to a new version of normal. These resources include online multiple-choice question quizzes, additional topic tests, revision checklists and also exam hints documents.
Our Teacher network meetings provide a platform for teachers to share their practise. Many teachers spoke about how they were embracing technology they hadn’t before including Microsoft Teams, e-pencils and visualisers. We have extracted some of the most recommended free resources here:
Dates for the Autumn 2020 exam series has now been released, see the JCQ for details.
We are pleased with how well received our events were, and we're looking forward to hosting more so keep an eye on our Teacher Network events page. You can also post your question in the comments below, email us at email@example.com or follow us on Twitter @OCR_science. Make sure you are signed up to receive our email updates.
Sylvia Grice – Subject Advisor, Science
Sylvia joined OCR in April 2020 with specific responsibility for A Level Biology. She has come straight from the classroom after 8 years teaching GCSE Science and A Level Biology in Wiltshire and Norfolk with a brief period teaching in America. She is passionate about providing the support needed for excellent teaching and learning. Sylvia holds a degree in Natural Sciences and a PGCE in Secondary Science from the University of Bath. In her spare time, Sylvia enjoys travelling around the UK in her campervan with her family.