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Assessing science capabilities in New Zealand secondary schools: Thinking required for planning to enacting

Jared Carpendale and Mairi Borthwick

Science capabilities were introduced within the New Zealand context following the revised New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). These capabilities are a small set of things that NZC intends students to be able to do in science, which weave the nature of science with content strands. Using pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) to understand teacher knowledge, this article explores how a New Zealand secondary school embraced science capabilities and how it is assessing them. A concerted and targeted effort over the last decade saw significant shifts in teacher thinking, and the school now utilises science capabilities for significant portions of the curriculum design and assessment in Years 9–11. Moving away from traditional approaches, the school now reports on student progression with respect to what they can do. It is intended that the thinking and approaches reported here will support other secondary schools if they are making changes to their science curriculum.

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