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Durham University

School of Education

Staff Profile

Ros Roberts

Teaching Staff in the School of Education

Contact Ros Roberts (email at rosalyn.roberts@durham.ac.uk)

Biography

Ros joined the School of Education in 1996 having previously taught science/ biology in secondary schools and FE and PGCE students in Bristol. Now a Senior Lecturer her research interests include both the teaching and assessment of Evidence in Science, particularly in its application to fieldwork, along with school curriculum developments such as Working Scientifically see, http://www.dur.ac.uk/rosalyn.roberts/Evidence/cofev.htm for example.
Her current research is into the concepts of evidence and their role in developing understanding in open-ended investigations, argumentation, scientific literacy and social science research. It is relevant to both university and school curricula. Her research impacts on both undergraduate and school practice, science curriculum developments and science assessments.


Ros has, over the years, been Programme Director for our MAEd, taught doctorate and PGCE (secondary) Programmes. Currently she is our Undergraduate Divisional Director. She teaches and supervises on the primary BA(Ed) at Queen's Campus and the Secondary PGCE, focusing on key ideas in biology, scientific evidence and practical work. She supervises students at masters and doctoral level.

“Completed Supervisions (since 2008)”

An Exploration of Cross-cultural Adjustment and Job Satisfaction among Primary School Native-speaking English Teachers in Hong Kong.

Good Foundations:
An Analysis of the Configurations of Factors Affecting Success in Non-Traditional Students on a Foundation Programme

 An Exploratory Study of Pre-service Primary Teachers’
Understanding of Uncertainty in Measurements in Singapore

Impact

The QCA cited our work about the curriculum, teaching and assessing for a Procedural Understanding in Science in their documentation to English and Welsh Awarding Bodies in 2004 to inform their preparations for the new 2006 GCSEs.

Our consultation work for AQA, the largest Awarding Body for Science, informed their curriculum and assessment of GCSE Science How Science Works. The science GCSEs were introduced in 2006 and, in 2012 for instance, there were ~50,000 AQA GCSE science entries. Over the years since the new specification has been examined 200,000+ pupils have been taught and assessed using AQA specifications which included our work for HSW.

The publication (2011). Ideas and Evidence in Science: Lessons from Assessment: An independent report to SCORE informed SCORE’s position about curriculum reform and was sent by SCORE to the NC Review panel, shared with DfE officials and was used at ASE Council in deliberations about NC Review. The research also resulted in an annotated exemplar item bank of questions which was distributed to Awarding Bodies and SCORE encouraged their use with developers and examiners. The report was cited by SCORE in their response to the Education Select Committee inquiry in November 2011.

More recently our work has been influential internationally. Scientific and Engineering Practices in the USA's Framework for K-12 Science Education cite our work as do the PISA 2015 Science Framework, an international assessment due to be taken in more than 70 countries.

Information for prospective doctoral research student supervisions

Ros welcomes supervision enquiries from students with an interest in fieldwork and outdoor learning, ecology, biology, scientific literacy and the public understanding of science, evidence and threshold concepts, scientific enquiry, teaching and understanding scientific evidence, science curriculum analysis, practical work in science and assessment in science.

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2015: Society of Biology: Elected to Fellow
  • 2014: Invited participant in seminar at King's College: 'The Impacts of Outdoor Learning'; Field Studies Council/ Institute of Education workshop, 'the place of fieldwork in georgraphy and science qualifications'
  • 2014: National Stakeholder Group for EU FP7: Project looking at assessment of inquiry based learning in science, mathematics and technology, called ASSIST-ME
  • 2014: Society of Biology: Appointed to the Society's Curriculum Committee
  • 2013: Grant reviewer: Economic and Social Research Council
  • 2013: Journal Reviewer:
    • editorial board for Journal of Biological Education and Research in Science and Technological Education
  • 2012: External Academic expert panel member: For the Periodic Review of the Postgraduate Certificate of Education (Suffolk and Norfolk SCITT), at University Campus Suffolk
  • 2011: - present: Member of Biology Education Research Group:
  • 2011: Association for Science Education Outdoor Science Working Group: 2011 - present: a specialist in assessment
  • 2011: Institute of Advanced Study: Futures II series:

    'New Storylines for Living with Environmental Change'. Team led by Prof. Sarah Jane Banks & Prof. Phil Naghten. Responsible for arranging two of the five events:

    • Reclaiming our futures: people, science and environmental change, A ‘future worlds café’ for members of the public and university.
    • Whose Nature? A workshop facilitated by Phil Gates and Ros Roberts.
  • 2010: Independent consultant: Commissioned by SCORE to evaluate ‘Assessment of How Science Works.
  • 2008: NCCA, Dublin: Consultation with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, Dublin.
  • 2006: British Ecological Society: Ongoing: Member of British Ecological Society, Education, Training and Careers Committee - as specialist in ecology education for schools and ITE programmes.
  • 2006: Consultant to AQA: On new Biology A-level curriculum specifications and assessment.
  • 2005: Expert Panel: Invited to be on an Expert Panel “Recognising and promoting good practice in teaching and assessing How Science Works” at a meeting for all Awarding Bodies in the UK held at the NSLC, York.
  • 2004 - 2006: Consultant to the Awarding Body, AQA, on new GCSE curriculum specifications and assessment of How Science Works.
  • 2008 - 2011: Consultant on British Council DelPHE project: Curriculum Development for effective and relevant Higher Education in Lesotho, with specialism in Education for Sustainable Development across the curriculum

Research Interests

  • Biological investigations in school science
  • Fieldwork and outdoor learning in Science Education
  • Science subject knowledge in the school and ITT curriculum
  • Teaching for the public understanding of science
  • Understanding of evidence and quantitative understanding across all subjects

Research Projects

Selected Publications

Journal Article

Authored book

  • Boohan, R., Campbell, P. Charlesworth, J., Galloway, I. Millar, R. Needham, R. & Roberts, R. (2010). The language of measurement: terminology used in school science investigations. Hatfield, Herts: ASE Publications.
  • Cassidy, M., Lakin, L., Madden, D., Meatyard, B. (ed), Roberts, R. & Tribe, M. (2009). Biological Nomenclature. London: Institute of Biology.
  • R. Gott, K. Foulds, R. Roberts, M. Jones & P. Johnson (1999). Science Investigations 3. London: Collins Educational.
  • Gott, R., Foulds, K., Jones, M., Johnson, P. & Roberts, R. (1998). Science Investigations 2. London: Collins Educational.
  • Gott, R., Foulds, K., Johnson, P., Jones, M. & Roberts, R. (1997). Science Investigations 1. London: Collins Educational.

Chapter in book

Conference Paper

  • Roberts, R. (2018), Biology: the ultimate science for teaching an understanding of scientific evidence, in Gericke, N. & Grace, M. eds, European Researchers in the Didactics of Biology Conference (ERIDOB). Karlstad, University Printing Office, Karlstad, 225-241.
  • Oshima, R. & Roberts, R. (2014), Students’ recognition of the role of variables in an investigation, Proceedings of the International Science Education Conference 2014 International Science Education Conference. Singapore National Institute of Education, 1368-1392.
  • Roberts, R. & Gott, R. (2010), A Framework for Practical work, Argumentation and Scientific Literacy, in Cakmakci, G. & Taser, M.F. eds, Contemporary science education research: scientific literacy and social aspects of science ESERA 2009. Istanbul, Turkey, Pegem Adademi, Istanbul, 99-104.
  • Roberts, R. & Gott, R. (2007), Evidence, Investigations and Scientific Literacy: what are the curriculum implications?, NARST. New Orleans, New Orleans LA.
  • Roberts, R. & Gott, R. (2007), Questioning the Evidence: research to assess an aspect of scientific literacy, ESERA Conference. Malmo, Sweden, Malmo.
  • Roberts, R. (2007), Research into the Concepts of Evidence and their assessment and its impact on 'How Science Works', BERA SIG conference. Birmingham University, England, Birmingham University.
  • Gott, R. & Roberts, R. (2003), A written test for procedural understanding: a case study into pupils' performance, European Science Education Research Association, Holland.

Other (Digital/Visual Media)

  • Roberts, R. (2007). Fieldwork, evidence and the 14-16 UK science curriculum. Teaching Ecology Newsletter (35): 6-10.

Report

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