A suite of GCSE science courses developed in partnership with the University of York

Additional Applied Science rationale

The nature of Additional Applied Science

This course stimulates students to develop their practical scientific capabilities. It prepares them for more advanced courses and can lead to careers in technical fields.

The Applied Science course has following features:

  • a choice of modules, each of which is based on a study of how an important part of science is applied in contemporary life;
  • a range of practical competencies related to standard procedures in work-related contexts
  • application of the practical competencies to extended problem-solving activities
  • an extension from the core of scientific explanations and procedural understanding in particular contexts, so that students can progress in areas of applied science and related subjects, post-16.

A ladder to climb

The Applied course offers the full range of grades. It provides a ‘ladder’ of progression to high achievement. Some pupils will find this course more accessible than the general course because there are ‘starting rungs’ which are easier to ‘step onto’ and which are rewarding to climb because of their authenticity.

In any scenario, an applied module offers the perspective of the practitioner, whereas a core module presents a view of the world from the perspective of a member of the public. In a health centre, for example, an applied module investigates the work of a care worker (nurse, doctor, physiotherapist) while any related core topics explore the interests of the patient.

In this single-subject applied GCSE the required knowledge and understanding can focus on the procedural and conceptual understanding that underpins authentic, science-related work.

Science as practised

The map of the science domain by the Council of Science and Technology Institutes (1993) showed that there are three important strands to the work of people who apply science:

  • The application of knowledge, methods, tests and trials to provide data, deliver a product or solve problems
  • The communication of knowledge, expertise, benefits and implications of scientific work both within the science community and outside
  • Management including working with others and the deployment of resources within constraints of material resources, time, budgets and the need to avoid harm to people and the environment.

These three strands are reflected in the experience of students taking Additional Science (Applied).

Purposes of applied modules

The purposes of practical scientific activity include:

  • Characterising, analysing and identifying
  • Making, growing, building and synthesising
  • Monitoring, controlling, managing and regulating.

In all the activities measurement is at the heart of what scientists do and so the concepts of valid measurement are central to an applied course.

Each Applied module is set in a context:

  • which is likely to be encountered by many students in their personal and/or working lives;
  • in which scientific procedures are involved and scientific understanding.

In addition, each Applied module requires knowledge and understanding:

  • of standard procedures that are adopted to ensure successful practice;
  • of the benefits (for participants or consumers) of the outcomes of the activities;
  • of how the outcomes or effects of the activities can be made as safe (to practitioners and members of the general public), economic and as environmentally friendly as possible;
  • of the scientific concepts which inform safe and successful practice, including concepts of valid measurement and problem-solving procedures.

Students study three modules, each occupying about 50 hours teaching time. The following modules are offered.

  • Ap1 Life care
  • Ap2 Agriculture and food
  • Ap3 Scientific detection
  • Ap4 Harnessing chemicals
  • Ap5 Communications
  • Ap6 Materials and performance

See also
Science as practised

Purposes of Applied modules

Assessment framework

Teaching the applied course

Work-related portfolio