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How Science Works

The issue

In 2006, the Key Stage 4 programme of study introduced the concept of How Science Works (HSW). All awarding organisations were required to include a proportion of HSW in its assessment material. SCORE is concerned with the lack of clarity on the definition of HSW and how the term is interpreted by the different awarding organisations. This concern was highlighted in the SCORE GCSE Science examinations report which found:

  • significant differences between awarding organisations regarding the amount of HSW in examinations papers
  • wide variations in the amount of HSW were found when comparing foundation papers across awarding bodies and when comparing higher tier papers. These variations suggest that there is a lack of parity between awarding organisations in terms of the requirement for students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of HSW within the written exam paper.


Published on 21 March 2011, Ideas and Evidence in Science: Lessons from Assessment is an independent research report from Andrew Hunt to SCORE.  It will be used by SCORE to inform their understanding of the issues around How Science Works and its assessment.  In particular it will help inform the SCORE position on the nature of science in the National Curriculum.