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Victorian Certificate of Education senior secondary chemistry benchmarking report 2020

educational resource
posted on 2020-02-01, 00:00 authored by Seamus DelaneySeamus Delaney, Amanda Peters, Lisa Chiavaroli
In order to comparatively analyse the current Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Senior Chemistry Study Design, four national and five international secondary chemistry curricula were selected. Each of these contemporary curricula had been recently implemented and each claimed to have distinctive features addressing the needs of the teachers, students and local contexts of their jurisdiction.

A multi-layered curriculum analysis approach was undertaken to provide research evidence and points of interest between the chosen curricula in order to inform discussion on how best a senior secondary Chemistry curriculum can be conceptualised and enacted.

Overall, the VCE Chemistry Study Design offers a comparable breadth of topics and a flexible assessment strategy in its current format. However, when compared to other national and international senior chemistry curricula, several aspects of the current Study Design do not compare favourably.

The 2020 Chemistry curriculum review panel provides a direct opportunity to address some of these concerns. A list of key recommendations have been provided at the end of this report.



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Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority

Place of publication

[Melbourne, Vic.]



Research statement

The development and publication of the benchmarking report, provided to the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA), responded to the research question: How is subject of Chemistry being conceptualised and enacted in curriculum documents across a range of national and international jurisdictions? This report formed part of the monitoring of VCE senior secondary chemistry, and was based on desktop data collection and analysis informed by a targeted literature review. It included research that compared national courses (New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia) and international course (International Baccalaureate, A levels Cambridge, Hong Kong, Alberta and Ontario). Specifically the research provided: • An analysis of national and international studies of Chemistry using the following framework: - Name of Jurisdiction - Provision of Chemistry and Chemistry Curriculum within the jurisdiction at Senior Secondary level, including allocated time/s - Chemistry-based courses offered within the jurisdiction - Units of study within Chemistry curriculum - Topics within Chemistry curriculum - Aims, Skills and Objectives of Chemistry curriculum - Content and focus of Chemistry curriculum - Overview including distinctive features of each course (for example: compulsory content; amount of choice) - Assessment including weighting, task types and scope for choice of task - Points of comparison with VCE Chemistry (for example: breadth, depth, rigour). • An evaluation of the relationship/progression of VCE Chemistry with the Victorian Curriculum F-10 Science.

Publication classification

A6 Research report/technical paper