“These topics should make students more critical of the data and statistics they see. It’s a growing problem… people can just take numbers as fact because they’re numbers, but they often don’t understand what they mean,” Roebuck said. “Students will have to put a more critical lens on data, which should help them spot things that are a little skewed in the way they’re presented.”
The new syllabus places greater emphasis on environmental sustainability, indicators and factors influencing climate change, the implications of greenhouse gas emissions, the cause and effect of human activity on the climate, renewable and non-renewable energy, and ethical and sustainable use of energy.
Paul Cahill, NESA’s Executive Director of Curriculum Reform, said the draft syllabus takes into account how STEM education has evolved since the last major revision of the syllabus in 2012.
“We need to make sure our students are prepared, which is why the latest design incorporates new topics in data science, examining scientific truth and evidence, and environmental sustainability in line with the latest contemporary evidence,” Cahill said.
“These reforms aim to build more critical scientific thinkers who gather and analyze information, and develop understanding through observation, experimentation and discussion.”
Student research projects will be replaced by ‘in-depth studies’, where students can do more detailed field research, experiments or fieldwork reports.
Education and Early Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell said the syllabus refresh would help equip students for success in a modern, digital and connected world.
“We know that it is essential that students can apply their knowledge in daily practice. Through these syllabuses, students will benefit from more tangible learning experiences that will give them the opportunity to study real-world challenges, making them the next generation of global leaders in STEM,” said Mitchell.
“Ultimately, the new syllabuses are designed to better prepare young people for further study and career paths in STEM.”
The changes will also include more detailed links to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ use of the science, which Roebuck said was previously “not well signposted.”
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