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EDST272 Curriculum, Pedagogy and Assessment in Science Education 1

Teaching organisation

Lectures, student presentations, group work and workshops.

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 Science Education in contemporary Australian society, and the senior secondary Science Education curriculum, in particular. They will explore a range of evidence-based approaches for curriculum development and alignment and plan for effective teaching and learning, including formative and summative assessment. Pre-service teachers will learn approaches for building knowledge of Science Education 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 the capacity to collect, create and critique resources for effective teaching and learning and to link with the 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 Science Education 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 - generate and critically evaluate a Science curriculum program for senior secondary students which involves a variety of pedagogical approaches and resources appropriate to these year levels, assessment tasks and curriculum content (GA4, GA5)

LO2 - critically analyse, synthesise, develop and implement a variety of best practice, research-informed classroom strategies which cater for individual differences in student learning (e.g. differences informed by cognitive, physical, socio-economical, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity) and integrate general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities in the Science classroom (GA4, GA5, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - analyse the relationships between learning task design, student learning and expertise, higher-order thinking, assessment, feedback and reporting strategies and evaluation in Science Education, and apply to the development of own teaching practice (GA4, GA5)

LO4 - interpret and explain the relationship of assessment to intervention strategies, student learning and high stakes examination practices in Science curriculum (GA5, GA9, GA10)

LO5 - analyse and apply a variety of laboratory skills and techniques including aspects of general and mandatory safety requirements in the laboratory and thus demonstrate expertise in the field of Science Education to meet relevant professional requirements (GA5)

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • factors in the educational context of Science (international, national, state, territory and local levels) including curriculum policies and perspectives that shape the identity of Science Education in Years 11-12
  • the concepts, substance and structure of senior secondary curriculum content in Science
  • specific professional practices and pedagogical approaches related to teaching and learning in Science Education and their theoretical underpinnings
  • alignment and coherence in content, learning outcomes, pedagogy in curriculum programming in Science Education
  • the relationship between reflexive learning and effective concept formation to foster creativity and build higher-order thinking in Science Education
  • strategies for engaging diverse learners, including interactive and laboratory-based learning; projects; open-ended investigations; argumentation, debate and problem solving; and student presentations.
  • strategies to develop students’ literacy and numeracy skills in the context of Science
  • specific teaching strategies and issues related to Indigenous students in Science Education
  • effective use of resources for teaching, including ICT’s and technologies specific to Science
  • pedagogical strategies to facilitate creativity, promote problem solving and foster critical thinking in Science Education
  • ways to assess student learning, provide effective feedback, make consistent and comparable judgments, interpret student data and report on student achievement and ethical practice in assessment in Science
  • maintaining student safety in Science including risk identification, management and legislative requirements
  • resources for teachers, professional associations 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 a curriculum appropriate for a Science Education context. The pre-service teacher will continue to gather and reflect upon evidence of attainment of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers: Graduate.

The 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:

Formative and Summative Assessment Practice: An assessment plan of two or more tasks designed for senior students. Each task designed will include:

  • a rationale that accounts for the choice of content in relation to how the demand of each task supports the development Science curriculum goals Science curriculum outcomes/achievement standards
  • marking guidelines/criteria
  • strategies for providing feedback
  • source material as appropriate


LO1, LO3

GA4, GA5

Assessment Task 2:

Curriculum, assessment and evaluation practice: A program of work or scope and sequence statement constructed for senior students over a nominated period of time (eg. term/ semester/ year). The curriculum will be designed to address:

  • a current issue or innovation in the subject area or a particular context/scenario
  • nominated curriculum content represented in a learning and teaching sequence
  • differentiation of assessment for learning tasks to suit the needs of diverse learners
  • learning outcomes/levels of achievement
  • the integration of assessment in a learning and teaching sequence tasks
  • nominated pedagogical strategies to support higher-order learning
  • resources, including a field trip or excursion
  • a proposal for curriculum evaluation
  • identification and application of laboratory skills and techniques and their associated mandatory safety requirements and procedures.


An essay or position paper that addresses current issues and debates in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment in the teaching subject.


LO2, LO4, LO5

GA5, GA9, GA10

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