A teacher's guide to the new QCAA Senior Biology syllabus changes

A change is coming for Queensland senior secondary schooling.

Senior Biology in Queensland is changing to help students develop 21st-century skills and knowledge for success in their future work and life. You can trust our expert Queensland authors and award-winning publishing team to support you with the tools and resources you need to help you implement the new Queensland Senior Biology syllabus.

The changes to Queensland Senior Biology affect all aspects of teaching and learning – new teaching content, new course structure and a new approach to assessment.

What does the new QCAA Biology General Senior Syllabus look like?

Biology
Unit Syllabus content Assessment Assessment method
Unit 1 Cells and multicellular organisms
  • Topic 1: Cells as the basis of life
  • Topic 2: Multicellular organisms
Formative internal assessment/s Schools should develop at least one assessment per unit, with a maximum of four assessments across Units 1 and 2
Unit 2 Maintaining the internal environment
  • Topic 1: Homeostasis
  • Topic 2: Infectious diseases
Formative internal assessment/s Schools should develop at least one assessment per unit, with a maximum of four assessments across Units 1 and 2
Unit 3 Biodiversity and the interconnectedness of life
  • Topic 1: Describing biodiversity
  • Topic 2: Ecosystem dynamics
Summative internal assessment
  1. Data test (10%) Summative internal assessment
  2. Student experiment (20%)
Summative external assessment: Examination (50%)
Unit 4 Heredity and continuity of life
  • Topic 1: DNA, genes and the continuity of life
  • Topic 2: Continuity of life on Earth
Summative internal assessment
  1. Research investigation (20%)
Summative external assessment: Examination (50%)

Source: Biology 2017 v1.0, QCAA General Senior Syllabus, Queensland Curriculum & Assessment Authority November 2017

Students studying the Senior Biology syllabus from 2019 will:

develop the skills for success in their future work and life

gain knowledge about the world we live in and what it means to be human

learn a systematic way of thinking about science

develop creative and critical reasoning in order to gain scientific knowledge

acquire skills used by scientists to develop new knowledge and verify known scientific relationships

refine their newly acquired skills through scientific experiments and explain scientific phenomena with evidence to support or refute claims.

The basics

To successfully implement the new Senior Biology syllabus, there are three basic points to be aware of:

1

The new course is made up of four units of study to be taught over two years (i.e. Units 1 and 2 to be taught in Year 11 and Units 3 and 4 to be taught in Year 12). Students should complete Units 1 and 2 before beginning Unit 3. It is recommended that Unit 3 be completed before Unit 4.

2

Units 1 and 2 have students working across all syllabus objectives and beginning to engage with the course subject matter. The teaching of Units 3 and 4 consolidates students’ learning. Subject matter, learning experiences and assessment increase in complexity from Units 1 through to 4 as students develop independent learning.

3

Only the results from Units 3 and 4 will contribute to ATAR calculations. Each unit has been developed to a notional time of 55 hours of teaching and learning, including assessment.

Meet our expert author team for Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective (3rd edition)

Lorraine Huxley

Author

Lorraine Huxley is an experienced primary, secondary and tertiary teacher. Lorraine has held positions as Head of Biology and has been involved in QCAA district and state review panels.

Margaret Walter

Author

Margaret Walter is an experienced secondary and tertiary teacher who has worked as Head of Science. Margaret has also been involved in QCAA district and state review panels and the 2004 Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) syllabus sub-committee.

Robyn Flexman

Series consultant

Robyn Flexman is an experienced Biology teacher and Head of Science. She has been involved in the QCAA review panel in a number of roles and has also been involved in the endorsement process for the new SATE system. In 2011, she received a Peter Doherty Award for Outstanding Science Teacher. Robyn has also worked as a project officer for Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and presented at international conferences and CONASTA.

What is Oxford publishing for the new QCAA Biology General Senior Syllabus?

The publishing team at Oxford is currently working with expert Queensland authors to deliver high-quality resources directly mapped to the new syllabus. These include:

Biology for Queensland:
An Australian Perspective

Units 1 & 2 (3rd edition)

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 1 & 2 3E Student book + obook assess

  • Print student book with digital access

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 1 & 2 3E Student obook assess

  • Digital student access (12 months access)

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 1 & 2 3E Student obook assess MULTI

  • Digital student access (3 x 12 months access)

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 1 & 2 3E Teacher obook assess

  • Digital teacher access

All Unit 1 & 2 titles coming in 2018.

Biology for Queensland:
An Australian Perspective

Units 3 & 4 (3rd edition)

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 3 & 4 3E Student book + obook assess

  • Print student book with digital access

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 3 & 4 3E Student obook assess

  • Digital student access (12 months access)

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 3 & 4 3E Student obook assess MULTI

  • Digital student access (3 x 12 months access)

Biology for Queensland: An Australian Perspective Units 3 & 4 3E Teacher obook assess

  • Digital teacher access

All Unit 3 & 4 titles coming in 2019.

Why choose Oxford QLD Senior Science resources?

Our Senior Biology resources are designed to work for you in the classroom. They will:

provide learning pathways that ensure complete coverage of the syllabus

clearly model approaches to inquiry learning and critical thinking

provide detailed support and resources for assessment (including exam preparation and practice)

suggest methodologies for mandatory and suggested practicals outlined in the syllabus.

All these features are designed to save you time when lesson planning, reduce the stress of syllabus implementation and ensure the best learning outcomes for your students.

From January 2019, senior secondary syllabuses in Queensland will change to support the introduction of new assessment and tertiary entrance systems. As teachers across Queensland prepare for this significant change, the Secondary team at Oxford will be busy collaborating with local teachers and educators to create a range of world-class teaching and learning materials. Our goal is to make implementation of the new systems as smooth and stress-free as possible for you.

–The Secondary Publishing Team at Oxford University Press

As Secondary Publisher of the Year 2017, Oxford University Press is committed to helping teachers and students in Queensland reach their full potential.

Register for QLD Senior Syllabus updates from Oxford and receive:

Invites to our free webinar series

Invites to Professional Development events in Queensland

Advanced access to sample chapters and page proofs

Relevant QCAA syllabus updates where applicable

Access to teaching and learning resources

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