The Science Threshold Learning Outcomes (TLOs) presented us with a nationally agreed framework for bachelor level degrees in science. The Science TLOS are available in the Science Standard Statement (Jones, Yates and Kelder, 2011) that also contains Notes on their interpretation to assist with curriculum design. That booklet was, necessarily, constructed as a formal document aimed primarily at teaching academics and those with relevant quality assurance responsibilities. However, it is the students – potential and current – who really need to appreciate what they will achieve through studying science at university, and how that learning will prepare them for employment.
We therefore wanted to develop “student friendly” version of the Science TLOs directed at potential and current students, their parents, future employers, teachers and career advisors. For this purpose, we enlisted the help of The Bookend Trust, a multi-award-winning, not-for-profit organisation dedicated to inspiring students to undertake positive careers in environmental science. Through one of their programs, Bookend supports students to develop their skills in communicating science stories to other students.
As an initial scoping exercise, a Bookend scholarship student surveyed Year 11/12 students’ attitudes to the formally expressed Science TLOs: those survey results informed the second stage of the project, particularly the design of the flyer. To embed the Science TLOs into a concrete context, Bookend students interviewed employers using questions designed to elicit responses illustrating how the Science TLOs are directly relevant to working in science.
The final product is a two-sided coloured flier that provides a ‘student-friendly’ version of the Science TLOs re-phrased as direct questions, and a QR code that links to a website where the employer interviews can be viewed. Two versions are now available for you to download: one is a web-friendly version, while the other is marked up for printing in hard copy, for distribution at events such as university open days or career nights.
Sue Jones and Brian Yates