Enabling students to understand and analyse contemporary issues in science and technology

A2 Assessment

The formal assessment includes a range of styles that reflect the aims of the course: one structured exam paper and two pieces of internally assessed work.

Full details of the assessment objectives and their weightings can be found on the approved specification on the AQA website.

The resources provided for each topic include one exam style question as well as other activities that can be used to evaluate learning and understanding.

Review questions in the textbook aim to encourage connections between different strands of the specification. They also encourage the development of skills required for formal internal assessment.

Unit 3 – SCIS1

A2 Exploring issues

2 hour written paper externally assessed (90 marks)

30% of the total A Level marks

Three strands of the Science in Society course are interwoven: the issues, the science behind the issues, and what study of the issues tells about science and society. Each section of the content considers a topical issue or episode from the history of science which provides the Context for teaching the Science explanation and ideas about How Science Works. There are fewer contexts in this unit compared to the AS Unit 1 so that each topic can be studied at greater depth. The unit includes new science not previously covered at GCSE and more advanced aspects of How Science works. The questions are in two sections. Section A consists of a number of compulsory structured questions in parts requiring short responses; Section B consists of one question requiring continuous prose that is also assessed for Quality of written communication

The examination paper includes a number of compulsory structured questions to assess understanding of the topics, ideas and concepts outlined in Unit 1.

Questions include comprehension, data analysis and response. Some questions require longer answers written in continuous prose that is also assessed for Quality of written communication.

Download some exam style questions for A2 Unit 3 Part B.

A2 Unit 3 Part B Exam Style Questions (157 KB)

Unit 4 – SCIS4

Case Study

1½ hour written paper externally assessed (60 marks)

For examples click here.

20% of the total A Level marks

All the questions are based upon a set of pre-release Case Study material. This material consists of written extracts from a number of sources on a scientific or technological issue, not necessarily directly referred to in Modules 1 or 3. Centres will receive the pre –release materials well ahead of the examination. It is to be made available to the students on May 1st. If you haven't received these materials by May 1st, please contact AQA. It is suggested that a minimum of three hours detailed study is spent on this pre-release material. Teachers may discuss the material with students.

Students may wish to ensure that they have a general understanding of the science, especially as portrayed in the more ‘popular science’ passages, but it is not expected that they will need to learn any significant new science for the case study. They will need to ensure that they recognise the vocabulary used and can interpret or describe any diagrams, graphs or tables.

Teachers and students are encouraged to consider ways in which How Science Works ideas are shown in the materials, to notice the relationships between the different sources and to identify the key issues involved.

Students may make notes on the source material but they will not be allowed to take this into the exam. They will be provided with a clean copy in the exam. The exam paper will also contain one new short source.

The questions are in two sections. Section A (about 60%) consists of several questions requiring short responses; Section B (about 40%) consists of two questions, one that requires some explanation of science for a specified audience and one that requires consideration of an issue and argument of a personal view. The continuous prose in Section B is also assessed for Quality of written communication.

There is a practice Case Study activity in each of the topic resources.

Download practice case studies for A2 Unit 4.

Case study on Chronic fatigue syndrome (70 KB)

Case study on desalination (45KB)

AQA has changed the format of its question papers and answer books for some papers, including this one. Information on the new style is available on the AQA web site http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/pdf/AQA-EX-OF-LONG-ANSWERS-W-GDE.PDF#Top