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).
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
iSTEM 3.5 was the Stage 5 school developed board endorsed courses (SDBECs) which was phased out at the end of their endorsement period or at the end of 2022. It can still be used by those schools which have endorsement and for any non NSW Department of Education school who wishes to run the old version of the course.
Since its inception in 2012 there has been over 320 schools across NSW that have received NESA endorsement to run iSTEM. Between 2014 – 2021 over 15,000 students have received a Record of School Achievement (RoSA) in iSTEM. As the popularity of iSTEM has grown so has its need to adapt to a broader and more diverse student and industry base and this has been the impetus for the curriculum to be regularly updated. iSTEM 4.0 has been developed to keep up to date with changes in industry and includes the addition of new electives in cybersecurity, AgriTech, critical problem solving, advanced manufacturing and sustainable transport.
Version 3.5 of the iSTEM curriculum has been developed out of the need for the curriculum to keep in touch with the rapidly changing nature of STEM. There are no changes to the objectives, outcomes or content of the course in Version 3.5, there are updates in some of the support materials. We are currently working on iSTEM 4.0 where there will be slight changes to the objectives, outcomes and content however, the major change will be in the addition of new electives. Version 4.0 will include the addition of new electives in Cyber Security, AgriTech and Sustainable design.
Below you will find a number of links that support the iSTEM 3.5 syllabus and the iSTEM 4.0 course framework.