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