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EDST543 Science Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment 1

Unit rationale, description and aim

In order to plan and deliver lessons that promote learner engagement and enhance student learning, intending secondary teachers need knowledge and understanding of the senior secondary curriculum, along with theoretical frameworks and pedagogical approaches that are emblematic of teaching in their chosen teaching areas, including teaching/learning that responds to the high-stakes assessment that is a usual feature of senior secondary schooling.

In this unit, pre-service teachers will consider the place of Chemistry in contemporary Australian society, and the senior secondary Chemistry curriculum, in particular. They will explore a range of evidence-based approaches for curriculum development and alignment and to plan for effective teaching and learning, including formative and summative assessment. Pre-service teachers will learn approaches for building knowledge of Chemistry and how to provide constructive feedback and reporting. They will learn approaches for engaging senior secondary learners and to meet the learning needs of diverse students in the senior secondary years. They will further develop skills to shape the dialogic talk of the classroom. Pre-service teachers will formulate unit and assessment plans in order to demonstrate a knowledge of curriculum, learning and assessment theory. They will assemble a resource folio to demonstrate capacity to collect, create and critique resources for effective teaching and learning and to link with curriculum. They will investigate issues and considerations of curriculum implementation as found in the practical reality of schools.

The aim of this unit is for the pre-service teacher to develop their pedagogical content knowledge through becoming familiar with the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary for teaching Chemistry at a senior secondary level.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - analyse and critique key ethical and moral perspectives associated with the teaching of science and synthesise to formulate a philosophy for the teaching of Chemistry (GA2, GA3, GA4; APST 2.1)

LO2 - demonstrate in-depth understanding of and apply the aims, content, structure, outcomes and theoretical concepts of the Stage 6 Chemistry Syllabus and related mandatory policies for its implementation; (GA5, GA8; APST 2.1)

LO3 - critically evaluate, generate and implement appropriate lesson sequences for assigned content area including the identification of prior learning, provision for first-hand and second-hand learning experiences, incorporation of ICT, employing strategies to enhance student literacy and teaching strategies that promote independent learning (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 1.5, 2.1, 2.2, 2.6, 3.3, 3.4, 4.5)

LO4 - critically examine a wide range of resources including state-based Syllabus and Curriculum Support Documents, Sample Unit Plans, school based texts and items from professional and other associations (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.2, 2.2, 2.3, 2.6, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3)

LO5 - analyse the relationships between learning task design, student learning and expertise, higher order thinking, assessment, feedback and reporting in Chemistry, and apply to the development and modification of own teaching practice in Chemistry (GA5; APST 2.3, 5.1, 5.2)

LO6 - critically evaluate teaching strategies for basic Chemistry concepts, including those which are commonly misunderstood (GA5, GA8; APST 1.5, 3.2)

LO7 - experience, evaluate, synthesise and prepare a range of teaching strategies and resources, in selected Syllabus mandatory exercises, with consideration of diverse learner needs and including risk assessments where appropriate (GA4, GA5, GA8; APST 1.3, 1.5).

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


On successful completion of this unit, pre-service teachers should be able to:

1.2 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of research into how students learn and the implications for teaching.

1.3 Demonstrate knowledge of teaching strategies that are responsive to the learning strengths and needs of students from diverse linguistic, cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.

1.5 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of strategies for differentiating teaching to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities. 

2.1 Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the concepts, substance and structure of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area.

2.2 Organise content into an effective learning and teaching sequence.

2.3 Use curriculum, assessment and reporting knowledge to design learning sequences and lesson plans.

2.6 Implement teaching strategies for using ICT to expand curriculum learning opportunities for students.

3.1 Set learning goals that provide achievable challenges for students of varying abilities and characteristics.

3.2 Plan lesson sequences using knowledge of student learning, content and effective teaching strategies.

3.3 Include a range of teaching strategies.

3.4 Demonstrate knowledge of a range of resources, including ICT, that engage students in their learning.

4.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the relevant issues and the strategies available to support the safe, responsible and ethical use of ICT in learning and teaching.

5.1 Demonstrate understanding of assessment strategies, including informal and formal, diagnostic, formative and summative approaches to assess student learning.

5.2 Demonstrate an understanding of the purpose of providing timely and appropriate feedback to students about their learning.


Topics will include:

  • The definition of ethical values associated with the teaching of Chemistry, leading to the formulation of a philosophy for the teaching of Chemistry based on research into teaching and learning.
  • factors in the educational context of Chemistry (international, national, state, territory and local levels) including curriculum policies and perspectives that shape the identity of Biology Education in Years 11-12
  • the concepts, substance and structure of senior secondary curriculum content in Chemistry
  • contemporary understandings of the unique ways in which students learn in Chemistry Education
  • specific professional practices and key pedagogical approaches related to teaching and learning in senior Chemistry contexts, and their theoretical underpinnings, with modelling/deconstructing of teaching strategies, first-hand investigations and second hand investigations
  • alignment and coherence in content, learning outcomes, pedagogy in curriculum programming in Chemistry Education with a focus on Years 11-12, including the identification of prior learning, provision for first hand and second hand learning experiences and teaching strategies that promote independent learning.
  • guided construction of programs and teaching resources for sample core syllabus units will be followed by independent planning and preparation of teaching resources for part of a senior secondary core unit.
  • the relationship between reflexive learning and effective concept formation to foster creativity, build promote problem solving and foster critical thinking in Chemistry Education
  • catering for a diverse range of learners in Chemistry
  • the need for a greater range of literacy skills in the senior secondary Chemistry course/s will be addressed by preparation and planning explicit strategies to teach these skills
  • specific teaching strategies and issues related to Indigenous students in Chemistry Education
  • effective use of a range of resources for the teaching area, including ICT’s and technologies specific to Chemistry
  • classroom management in Chemistry and the impact of curriculum rigour, engagement, participation and inclusion on learner behaviour
  • general principles of, ethical practice in, and ways to assess student learning, provide effective feedback, make consistent and comparable judgments, interpret student data, report on student achievement in assessment in senior secondary Chemistry, including Examination construction and a focus upon the elective units
  • maintaining student safety in this curriculum area including risk identification, management and legislative requirements 
  • resources and sources of professional learning for teachers for teachers, including professional associations, external professionals, community representatives and support networks.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies a social constructivist approach to develop the pre-service teacher’s understanding of effective pedagogies through active engagement and collaborative learning. The pre-service teacher will build an understanding of teaching strategies through critical reading, lecturer modelling, discussion, and practice in tutorials. The pre-service teacher’s skills of professional communication and ability to work collaboratively will be practised through group work. The pre-service teacher’s teaching skills of planning and assessing, and his/her ability to locate and synthesise information, will be developed through designing curriculum appropriate for a Chemistry education context. The pre-service teacher will continue to gather and reflect upon evidence of attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate.

Teaching and learning strategy described above will use an appropriate selection of approach, including, for example:

  • Weekly face-to-face lectures and / or online lectures (synchronous and asynchronous)
  • Hands-on tutorials and discussions that promote peer learning
  • Microteaching opportunities
  • Self-directed reading and research
  • Collaborative learning opportunities

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks and their weightings are designed so that the pre-service teacher can progressively achieve the course learning outcomes and the professional standards. The Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment units in this course focus on pre-service teachers acquiring content knowledge and developing the skills to assimilate conceptual knowledge in order for that knowledge to inform skills that will be applied in practice.

The two assessment tasks are sequenced to allow feedback and progressive development. By completing Task 1 the pre-service teacher will apply knowledge of assessment strategies. In Task 2 pre-service teachers develop a program of work for senior students over a period of time.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment Task 1:

Rich Assessment task

Develop a rich assessment task designed for senior Chemistry students. Each task will include:

  • a variety of assessment strategies, including diagnostic, formative and summative, that reflect the assessment requirements specific to the curriculum area while catering to diverse learner strengths and needs
  • identification of learning outcomes/ achievement standards addressed
  • strategies for making consistent and comparable judgements, including marking guidelines/criteria, and moderation, including the integration of literacy and numeracy
  • ways in which data will be interpreted to modify teaching practices
  • strategies for providing feedback
  • source material as appropriate.


LO2, LO7

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment Task 2:

Senior Secondary Options: Program and Practical Activities

Develop a program/unit of work for senior students. The program will be evidence-based and designed to include:

  • nominated curriculum content/option represented in three practical activities
  • learning outcomes/skills
  • equipment, procedures and teacher notes
  • questions and sample answers
  • literacy/numeracy strategies in the teaching area
  • the integration of assessment in learning and teaching tasks
  • differentiated pedagogical strategies to cater to diverse learners
  • critical evaluation and development of resources, including ICT, and a field trip or excursion
  • a proposal for curriculum evaluation.


LO1, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6, LO7

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Relevant State and National Curriculum documents.

Abell, S., & Lederman, N. (Eds.) (2007). Handbook of research on science education. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Arlington National Science Teachers’ Association. (2006). Handbook of college science teaching. NARST: available online.

Day, A. (2014). The structure of scientific examination questions. London: SpringerLink.

Hassard, J., & Dias, M. (2009). The art of teaching science: Inquiry and innovation in middle school and high school (2nd ed.). New York: Routledge.

Killen, R. (2009). Effective teaching strategies: Lessons from research and practice (2nd ed.). Katoomba, NSW: Social Science Press.

Liu, X. (2010). Essentials of science classroom assessment. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Liversidge, T., Cochrane, M., Kerfoot, B., & Thomas, J. (2009). Teaching science: developing as a reflective secondary teacher. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE.

Mitchell, I. (Ed). (2007). Teaching for effective learning. The complete book of PEEL teaching procedures (3rd ed.). Clayton, Vic: PEEL Publications.

Venville, G., & Dawson, V. (2012). The art of teaching science: For middle and secondary school (2nd ed.). Sydney, NSW: Allen & Unwin.

Wellington, J., & Ireson, G. (2008). Science learning, science teaching. London: Routledge.

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