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Curriculum for Excellence science : vision or confusion?

Day, Stephen and Bryce, Thomas (2013) Curriculum for Excellence science : vision or confusion? Scottish Educational Review, 45 (1). 53 - 67. ISSN 0141-9072

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Policy studies in science education do not have a particularly high profile. For science teachers, policy lurks in the background, somewhat disconnected from their normal classroom practice; for many, it is simply taken-for-granted. This paper analyses policy documents which have emerged from Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) that impact on science education. It does so through the prism of Roberts’ (2007) visions and image of science curricula to ask (i) how the stated rationale or vision for the science curriculum is reflected in the published experiences and outcomes (E&Os); (ii) what policy image of science education do these E&Os portray; and (iii) how well do these fit with teachers’ current experiences and (evolving?) classroom practices. We argue that there is a disconnection between the stated purposes of Scottish science education and the published E&Os. Pupils’ development towards functional scientific literacy cannot be achieved if there is confusion as to the purpose(s) of education in science. Greater clarification as to what the priorities are and should be for Scottish science education is required in order that significant change takes place.