Reconceptualising the Physical Sciences Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement in a South African Context

Cedric Bheki Mpungose


Post-apartheid South African curriculum reforms, from outcomes-based education (OBE) to the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS), resulted in different challenges. Teachers, in particular those teaching Physical Sciences in the Further Education and Training (FET) phase from Grades 10-12, were expected to cope with changes and master Physical Sciences curriculum for the attainment of good results, but were unable to do so because they were missing an understanding of curriculum concepts. The success of any curriculum depends on ten fundamental and broad curriculum concepts: rationale, goals, activities, assessment, accessibility, resources, content, roles, environment, and time. However, empirical findings show that Grade 12 Physical Science teachers in South African schools still struggle to understand and contextualise curriculum concepts in order to redefine specific CAPS Physical Science concepts. Consequently, this conceptual study uses Van den Akker (2004) curriculum spider web concept framework in reconceptualising Grade 12 CAPS Physical Science concepts. This study argues that teaching without knowing specific subject curriculum concepts can lead to poor teacher performance and poor subject results, this study concludes by proposing a formal, non-formal and informal framework for CAPS Physical Science to resolve this.

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International Journal of Higher Education
ISSN 1927-6044 (Print) ISSN 1927-6052 (Online) Email:

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