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STEM Industry School Partnerships

STEM Industry School Partnerships

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Emailstem@det.nsw.edu.au

iSTEM Stage 5

What is iSTEM?

iSTEM (version 4.0) is an innovative student-centred elective that integrates science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The course focuses on applied learning and skillset development based on the needs of local and national industry. iSTEM prepares students to engage with STEM knowledge, understanding and skills using inquiry, problem and project-based learning pedagogies.

iSTEM (version 4.0) is a NSW Department of Education approved elective course. 

As part of the NSW Curriculum Reform, Stage 5 school developed board endorsed courses (SDBECs) will be phased out at the end of their endorsement period or at the end of 2022, whichever occurs first.

The Curriculum planning and programming, assessing and reporting to parents K-12 Policy and associated policy standards set out the requirements for schools regarding the mandatory hours for additional studies (electives) in Stage 5.

Department approved elective courses can make up a maximum of 200 hours of the mandatory 400 hours of electives.

If a school chooses to deliver a department approved elective course, students and parents/carers need to be consulted and understand that the course will not be listed on the Record of School Achievement (RoSA).

Course structure

Students may undertake either 100 or 200 hours of study in iSTEM in Stage 5. Courses are structured in the following ways:

a 100-hour course consisting of either

- Core 1 and Core 2 and one elective and one specialised option
- Core 1 and Core 2 and 2 specialised options

a 200-hour course consisting of Core 1 and Core 2 and at least one elective and up to five specialised options

History of iSTEM

In 2013 version 1 of the iSTEM curriculum was developed by NSW Department of Education through Maitland Grossmann High School in partnership with local Industry, led by Dr. Scott Sleap. Its original production was supported through a ME Program grant from Regional Development Australia - Hunter. The original iSTEM syllabus was updated in subsequent years and versions 2 and 3 were developed by Dr. Sleap whilst he was the ME Program Director for Regional Development Australia - Hunter. The current version 3.5 again was developed by Dr Scott Sleap whilst working for the NSW Department of Education's STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) program. 

As part of the NSW Curriculum Reporm process, in  2022 the NSW Department of Education, Educational Standards Diorectorate through its STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) program developed version 4. In this year iSTEM became a Department Approved Elective (DAE).

Important Updates

NESA announced changes to the school developed board endorsed course (SDBEC) program in an official notice on 25 January 2021. NESA Official Notice 3/21

The key changes are:

Stage 5 SDBECs will no longer be endorsed by NESA, except for courses in languages for which there is no Board Developed Course (such as Auslan, or a community language) or braille.

Stage 5 and Stage 6 SDBECs with no student entries recorded in 2020 or expired in 2020 have been discontinued.

Existing Stage 5 SDBECs will be discontinued at the end of their endorsement period or at the end of 2022, whichever occurs first.

Existing Stage 6 SDBECs selected by students for the HSC will continue in 2021 and 2022.

Stage 6 SDBEC proposals will be subject to new endorsement criteria from 2021.

As a result:

Courses that have endorsement and are completed (100 hours or 200 hours) in 2021 or 2022 will be credentialed whenever the student gets the credential.

Schools will need to enter the student (even if they are in Year 9) while they still have endorsement, and not thereafter.

Schools should be aware that commencing a 200 hour SDBEC in 2022 will enable only the first 100 hours to be credentialed.

Changes to Stage 5 electives in 2022

Stage 5 elective course offerings are changing from Term 1 2022 following changes to School Developed Board Endorsed Courses (SDBECs) and require schools to start planning now.

From Term 1 2022:

  • students continue to undertake 400 hours of elective courses in Stage 5
  • at least 200 of these hours must be Board Developed Courses, Content Endorsed Courses or VET Board Endorsed Courses which are credentialled on the RoSA
  • the remaining 200 hours of the mandatory 400 hours are either Board Developed Courses, Content Endorsed Courses, VET Board Endorsed Courses or NSW Department of Education approved elective courses.

The department will offer seven approved elective courses drawn from school developed courses which have both high enrolment rates and strong links to industry and higher education pathways:

  • Big history
  • Critical thinking
  • International studies
  • iSTEM
  • Outdoor education
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology

The seven department approved elective courses will provide a high benchmark for quality curriculum with the flexibility to meet the needs of students where they are at with their learning consistent with local community expectation.

Information about the NSW Department of Education approved elective courses is available from the Curriculum Reform website.

For further advice, contact the secondary curriculum team at SecondaryEducationUnit@det.nsw.edu.au.

iSTEM Sample Resources Page

The the iSTEM sample resources page has been designed to support the different modules that make up the Stage 5 iSTEM course which is a NSW Department of Education approved elective course. The resources include units of work, portfolio's, programs, sample activities and links to other support sites.

Link to Page

 

Key elements of stage 5 iSTEM

Integrated approach to teaching STEM;

Use of  problem, project and inquiry-based learning based learning strategies;

Emphasis on enterprise skills such as; complex problem solving, teamwork, communication, negotiation, and creativity;

More connected real-world learning, including industry contextualisation;

Important iSTEM documents

Note: In 2022 there are two versions of iSTEM that are in operation iSTEM (version 4) which is one of the new Department Approved Electives (DAE) and iSTEM (version 3.5) which is the old School Developed Board Endorsed Course (SDBEC) which will be phased out at the end of 2022.

iSTEM version 4.0

All course and support materials for the iSTEM version 4 department approaved elective are avilable from this site. iSTEM DAE

iSTEM version 3.5 

Note: This School Developed Board Endorsed Course (SDBEC) will be phased out after 2022. Only schools that have NESA endorsement until 2022 should use this material if they wish for their students to recieve it on the RoSA. 

Current iSTEM Syllabus Document (Version 3.5) Download

Sample Year 9 iSTEM Program (Version 3) Download

Sample Year 9 iSTEM Program (Version 1) Download

Sample Year 10 iSTEM Program (Version 1) Download

Other Resources

iTeachSTEM resources for iSTEM Link

Department of Education STEM Website

iSTEM Promo Video - Students

iSTEM is a NSW Department of Education high school elective course in Year 9 and 10 that combines Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics skills. Students learn about aerodynamics, motion, robotics, mechatronics, 3D design and 3D Printing and gives students the skills they will need for our future.

iSTEM Promo Video

A futuristic look at the career possibilities open to students who study STEM. iSTEM is a NSW Department of Education high school elective course in Year 9 and 10 that combines Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics skills. Students learn about aerodynamics, motion, robotics, mechatronics, 3D design and 3D Printing and gives students the skills they will need for our future.

Implementing iSTEM

Video produced by the NSW Department of Education at Maitland Grossmann High School. It describes what is iSTEM and how it is implemented at the school. Interviews with Dr Scott Sleap STEM Coordinator (Previous Position), Dr Di Soltau, Principal Maitland Grossmann High School and Robert Weatherall and Grace Ahrens Year 9 iSTEM students in 2016.