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Project to stretch sixth-formers

You report that the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority plans to offer an AS-level project qualification (TES, February 3). This is exactly what Edexcel launched in 2004 with its AS "Perspectives on science", a one-year course about science and the history and ethics behind it.

Students must pose a research question within topics that include the origins of the universe, the human mind, genetics and scientific revolutions. They then produce a report, which is teacher-assessed and externally moderated, and a presentation, which is teacher-assessed.

Edexcel believes dissertations at this level can develop research and reasoning abilities. As the chief examiner for POS, I found that the choice of projects was good. The course adds considerable value to the learning experience and a fresh and enjoyable approach to science.

Dr John L Taylor

Chief examiner Edexcel, Stewart House 32 Russell Square, London WC1

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