The removal of the Options is a main contributor to the reduction in the content of the course. However, teachers will note that some topics from each of the former Options are now included in the main syllabus. Content has been reduced in many other areas too, hopefully leaving students more time to reflect and integrate needed concepts.
Guiding Questions are a new feature of the syllabus, given at the start of each sub-topic. The questions are purposefully open-ended, lending themselves to increasingly detailed consideration as the understanding of the topic deepens. These questions may serve as openers for a topic, teasing out students’ prior knowledge, and perhaps helping to suggest a sequence of what will be covered.“
Skills in the study of biology’. This is not intended as a topic to be taught in isolation, but is more of a checklist of skills that students must acquire during the course. It replaces the ‘prescribed practicals’, (aka ‘mandatory labs’) of the 2016 curriculum, and clarifies the techniques, technology and mathematical scope that is expected within the course.
The goal of Linking Questions is to help create enhanced understanding. The content of Linking Questions is often addressed elsewhere in the text as it sometimes encourages a ‘revisiting’ of material and sometimes a preview of upcoming material.
Four Main Themes
In order to enhance conceptual learning, the syllabus content is now presented in four main themes:
Unity and diversity
Form and function
Interaction and interdependence
Continuity and change
In addition, the syllabus structure now includes four levels of organisation: Molecules, Cells, Organisms, and Ecosystems.