The materials produced by the Nuffield Foundations' Advanced Biological Science Project did not represent a rigid syllabus. They were devised after careful evaluation of the results of extensive school trials so that they could be used in a variety of ways related to the different circumstances found in schools and the varied abilities, backgrounds, and aspirations of students.


  • The work had three major objectives:
  • To develop in students the intellectual and practical abilities which are fundamental to the understanding of biological science.
  • To introduce students to a body of biological knowledge relevant to modern requirements, through investigating living things and studying the work of scientists. In doing so, students were expected consider the processes of research and the implications of science for society.
  • To develop in students the facility for independent study, especially how to learn through critical evaluation rather than memorizing by rote.


The subject matter was covered in four units, each of approximately 90 periods (of 40 minutes) of class work and parallel homework. The units could be taken in various sequences and there were opportunities for a flexible treatment within each unit.

The units were:

  • Maintenance of the Organism
  • Organisms and Populations
  • The Developing Organism
  • Control and Coordination in Organisms

Teaching Approach 

The authors of the resources suggested that investigations should play a major part in the work. These could involve either practical work or investigations based on secondhand data, mainly in the form of excerpts from published literature, the results of experiments carried out by the project, or visual aids. The practical work was described in the laboratory guides; non-practical work in the study guide. The work in the laboratory guides and study guide were complementary and, in some cases, alternative. This made it possible for students to do practical and non-practical work in varying proportions. At the same time, through the use of cross-references, questions, and bibliographies (which mention the specially prepared Topic Reviews), it was possible to make discussion, reading, demonstration, and written work an integral part of the investigations.


The work in the Laboratory Guides was of three types.
*Preliminary work aimed to cover possible deficiencies in the students' background and provides reinforcement material for the less able student.
*Main work was within the capacity of the majority of A-level students. The amount of practical work was...

Published by the Nuffield Foundation, the Nuffield Advanced Biology Study Guide was complementary to the series of Laboratory Guides. This was also a book of investigations but it did not involve practical work and made use of various types of second-hand data instead. It served also as a further source of...

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