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ERIC Number: EJ1120276
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Dec
Pages: 7
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0036-6811
The Place of Fieldwork in Science Qualifications
Lambert, David; Reiss, Michael J.
School Science Review, v97 n359 p89-95 Dec 2015
The place of fieldwork in both geography and science qualifications across the 14-19 age range remains contested, unclear and sometimes under threat. This article explores these issues for science education and was informed by a one-day, invitation-only workshop, which cut across geography and the sciences, that we ran at the behest of the Field Studies Council (FSC). Fieldwork, which can be defined as any curriculum component that involves leaving the classroom and engaging in teaching and learning activities through first-hand experience of phenomena out of doors, has a long tradition in geography and in certain of the sciences, notably biology, earth science and environmental science/studies. In the sciences, fieldwork can be regarded as that subset of practical science that is particularly valuable for introducing students to investigating the complexity and messiness of the real world. Despite the benefits it can have for student learning and motivation, fieldwork is perceived by some school managers as expendable. In the sciences, at both GCSE and AS- /A-level, it is important that practical work, of which fieldwork is a unique component, is subject to high-quality assessment. The use of moderated student portfolios for the assessment of fieldwork has many strengths and should be explored to see whether it can be introduced as a component within formal, summative assessment. The more widespread practice of excellent fieldwork will require enhanced initial teacher education and subsequent teacher professional development. It takes time to become a teacher who can ensure that students have an outstanding fieldwork experience.
Association for Science Education. College Lane Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9AA, UK. Tel: +44-1-707-283000; Fax: +44-1-707-266532; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A