A Level Physics – Preparing for the CPAC – Practical Advice

Just a quick draft blog supporting those physics teachers . Please join in the discussions on Talkphysics.org and watch this space as it willbe updated

For those of you on twitter will be using the hashtag #CPACphys lease feel free to ask questions I probably cant answer but willfind someone who can

 

What is CPAC?

A-level practical skills to be assessed via endorsement

Cross-board statement on practical endorsement

The assessment of practical skills is a compulsory requirement of the course of study for A-level qualifications in biology, chemistry and physics. It will appear on all students’ certificates as a separately reported result, alongside the overall grade for the qualification. The arrangements for the assessment of practical skills will be common to all awarding organisations. These arrangements will include:

  • A minimum of 12 practical activities to be carried out by each student which, together, meet the requirements of Appendices 5b (Practical skills identified for direct assessment and developed through teaching and learning) and 5c (Use of apparatus and techniques) from the prescribed subject content, published by the Department for Education. The required practical activities will be defined by each awarding organisation.
  • Teachers will assess students against Common Practical Assessment Criteria (CPAC) issued by the awarding organisations. The draft CPAC (see below) are based on the requirements of Appendices 5b and 5c of the subject content requirements published by the Department for Education, and define the minimum standard required for the achievement of a pass. The CPAC will be piloted with schools and colleges and other stakeholders during autumn 2014 and spring 2015 to ensure that they can be applied consistently and effectively.
  • Each student will keep an appropriate record of their assessed practical activities.
  • Students who demonstrate the required standard across all the requirements of the CPAC will receive a ‘pass’ grade.
  • There will be no separate assessment of practical skills for AS qualifications.
  • Students will answer questions in the AS and A-level exam papers that assess the requirements of Appendix 5a (Practical skills identified for indirect assessment and developed through teaching and learning) from the prescribed subject content, published by the Department for Education.

Check out the very active Forum on Talkphysics.org here  You have to register but it is free and amazing !  Most of this blog is a compilation of ideas from it

AQA have a detailed practical booklet here if you are doing AQA – David Cotton has put together resources that link to TAP on talkphysics here

OCR Guidance is here 

A superb site is Practical A Level Physics it has been organised  to give extensive details about each practical. Included is a photo of the set up, teacher/tech notes, student notes, sample lab book and sample data. It is superb and the author continues to update it

 

 

cpac

 

 

Need to buy equipment ?

copy_of_new_a_level_practical_equipment_cos

Writing up – You could use the Young Scientists Journal

Young Scientists Journal (www.ysjournal.com) is an online science journal written, edited and produced entirely by students aged 12 to 20.

It was founded in 2006 by Christina Astin, one of our Teaching and Learning Coaches in Kent, and now attracts articles and editors from across the world.  17 issues have been published, with articles on a whole range of STEM topics, many of which started off as coursework, extended projects or CREST awards.  The last issue is here: www.ysjournal.com/issue-17

 

Your students can get involved by:

  • reading the journal – it’s free and open access and can be an inspiring source for homework research
  • following us on facebook (/YSJournal) or Twitter (@YSJournal)
  • getting their articles or science research projects published – it’s easy to upload and looks great on a UCAS form
  • joining the team of students editing articles and running the journal – plus lots of other opportunities such as web development, marketing, social media etc

If you have a group of students all keen to get involved you can get set up as a hub school – email editor@ysjournal.com  for more info.

 

What might record keeping look like? – My esteemed colleague and all together fantastic man Jon Clarke posted this on talkphysics (the link at the top of this page)

my record-keeping plans are for the first year through this new system, in case it helps anyone else plan this first time through the Practical Endorsement, or in case you think I’ve missed something – please let me know!(jon.clarke “at” iop.org)

In Monday’s lesson I’m going to run through parts of the AQA A-level Practical Handbook with them (particularly sections D & E), getting them ready to carry out their first required practical (5 – resistivity of a wire) on that Friday. Handily, section E suggests a “pro forma” to guide their write-up. I’ll be explicit with the students that, in this first practical, our learning outcomes are: to use the equipment, record data, and write up a practical. (The quality of their results, analysis or evaluation aren’t my priority yet.)

The exam board require the following information. Here’s what I’ll record for each item:

1. documented plans to carry out sufficient practical activities which meet the requirements of CPAC.
Long-term schemes of work which include the required practicals

2. a record of each practical activity undertaken and the date when this was completed;
3. a record of the criteria being assessed in that practical activity
My own record of work that I write-up after every lesson (do others keep anything similar?), plus I’ll write the passed criteria on each student’s practical notes while they do it, plus a note in a tracking spreadsheet

4. a record of student attendance;
Tracking spreadsheet, plus our electronic registers

5. a record of which student met the criteria and which did not;
Tracking spreadsheet, plus a note on each student’s work

6. student work showing evidence required for the particular task with date;
In students’ folders, interspersed with their theory work

7. any associated materials provided for the practical activity e.g. written instructions given.
A note in my record of work – in the case of Friday’s practical, this will be a full print-out of the IoP’s Teaching Advanced Physics notes for this practical – http://tap.iop.org/electricity/resistance/112/file_45987.doc .

The rest of the TAP resources that support CPAC are here

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/lddljwbtyuw23sh/AAD5U8LrrTWFjxN8eYcsBnyza?dl=0

 

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