Science Curriculum Reform on ‘Scientific Literacy for All’ Across National Contexts: Case Studies of Curricula from England & Wales and Hong Kong

  • Sibel ErduranEmail author
  • Siu Ling Wong
Part of the Cultural Studies of Science Education book series (CSSE, volume 8)


In recent years, a wide range of international policy documents has highlighted the significance of scientific literacy for all students in secondary schooling. Curriculum reform efforts have concentrated on the teaching of science as a goal not only for the education of scientists but also for the broader public. In this sense, the ‘Scientific Literacy for All’ slogan has promoted diversity in the form of a range of students targeted for inclusion in scientific practices and ways of thinking. The key premise of these efforts is that in industrialised and democratic societies, the public needs to be better equipped with scientific reasoning skills for informed decision-making as part of active and informed citizenship. A particular aspect of the move for ‘Scientific Literacy for All’ is the inclusion of themes such the understanding of science in context and the nature of science. In this chapter, we will review the key arguments for including scientific literacy in science teaching and learning. We will then focus on case study analyses of secondary science curricula from England and Hong Kong to illustrate in more depth how the rhetoric of ‘Scientific Literacy for All’ is instantiated. The purpose of these analyses is to highlight effective approaches to policy and implementation of scientific literacy in school science. We will draw from classroom-based research projects such as the Mind the Gap and S-TEAM projects in England and the Learning Science series of research and teacher development projects which aim to enhance teacher understanding of NOS and pedagogical skills for teaching NOS in their classrooms in Hong Kong. We will conclude with a set of recommendations for bridging gaps in policy, research and practice, and achieving diversity through engagement in the ‘Scientific Literacy for All’ agenda.


Scientific Literacy Science Teacher Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Science Curriculum National Curriculum 
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Sibel Erduran’s work on the Mind the Gap and S-TEAM projects was funded by the European Union FP7 Program. Erduran would like to thank Xiaomei Yan of the University of Bristol for assisting in data collection in the Mind the Gap project and Wan Ching Yee in the S-TEAM project.

Siu Ling Wong’s work on the series of professional development and research projects was funded by two Quality Education Funds from the Hong Kong Education Bureau. The project outcomes could not be achievable without the great collaboration with my science colleagues, Dr Benny Yung, Dr Maurice Cheng, Dr Jeffrey Day, Dr. Zhihong Wan, Mr. Eric Yam, Miss Kwan Ling Chan of the University of Hong Kong and Prof. Se-yuen Mak of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Wong is also grateful to the teacher members of the projects for their participation and the science colleagues in the Education Bureau for their advice.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of EducationUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong KongChina

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