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Reframing the essential skills: Implications for and from the science curriculum.

Miles Barker, Rosemary Hipkins and Rex Bartholomew

This paper explores what a focus on the Key Competencies might mean for the learning area of science.

Our Ministry of Education is currently taking stock of its Curriculum Framework, which has served New Zealand since 1993. One element of the Curriculum Framework which is under review is the eight Essential Skills namely: communication skills; numeracy skills; information skills; problem-solving skills; self-management and competitive skills; social and co-operative skills; physical skills; and work and study skills. A proposal exists to replace these, in any revision of the Framework, with a number of Essential Competencies. Proposed competencies, if accepted, would need to provide a suitable platform for education in each of the seven Essential Learning Areas (technology, social sciences, etc.) that a new Curriculum Framework would subsume. Conversely, each Essential Learning Area should have the capacity to contribute to the competencies listed in the Framework.

This paper considers how well the catalogue of essential competencies critiqued by Brewerton might resonate with appropriate science competencies in any future revision of Science in the New Zealand Curriculum.

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Publication type: 
Research report
Ministry of Education
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