primary science

Areas for further research

There is a good deal now known about the importance of formative assessment and the ways in which teachers can incorporate this into their science teaching. There is work to be done to find the best ways develop teacher’s professional expertise in using the evidence from such assessment to impact on further learning. We welcome examples of approaches to formative feedback including video and details of interventions which have enabled learners to overcome barriers to learning they were experiencing. Email


Davies, D., Collier, C., Earle, S., Howe, A., and McMahon, K. (2014) Approaches to Science Assessment in English Primary Schools: Interim findings from the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project . Accessed 11th Feb 2019.


Transferability - 3/4

The editors give this Guide a 3/4 rating.

Translational Research- levels used for MESHGuides

With thanks to Professor James O’Meara President International Council on Education for Teaching (

—T1 - Local findings that have not been formally tested outside the area in which the research was undertaken.

—T2 - Local findings that editors consider will easily translate to  comparable settings in the same/similar region(s)

Strength of evidence

The references cited here are to major studies carried out over a number of years. The TAPs research sample is 12 schools plus 38 commenting on the research from the 12. The schools are all located in the west of England. We would be interested in knowing if teachings find the findings and advice useful in their own context. Please email comments to


The project aims to produce and disseminate a tested ICT-based teacher assessment package, with a bank of benchmarking examples of children’s attainment across the primary science curriculum and age-range, together with a web-based CPD unit and programme of further support.

During 2019-2021 there will be a large scale evaluation of the TAPS approach funded by the Education Endowment Fund, involving 3,500 pupils across 140 schools. Focus4TAPS is a CPD programme designed to support teachers to improve their teaching and assessment of science in primary schools.


In June 2013 we issued an invitation to Bath Spa University (UK) partnership primary schools in the South West to apply to become one of the development and piloting cluster of 12 project schools.  50 schools applied, from which we selected 12 against a set of criteria agreed with our external adviser, Anne Goldsworthy.


This MESHGuide builds on the findings from the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science(TAPS) project. The focus of the TAPS project (September 2013 to July 2016) has been the development of a solution to teacher assessment in science to meet the requirements of the revised national curriculum in England and to define ‘best practice’ across the UK and internationally.

Approaches to assessment

Full guidance and resources to support classroom teachers and schools can be found at

Assessment, monitoring and reporting

The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project (Earle et al, 2017) explores the ways in which pupils, teachers and senior colleagues can work together to achieve a valid, reliable and manageable approach to assessment in primary science which is consistent with evidence-based research in this field, implements Nuffield (Harlen, 2012) recommendations and meets the requirements of the revised National Curriculum for England including the requirement to report on attainment at the end of key stages.

Common sense, misconceptions and barriers to learning

A second challenge is the interaction between ‘common sense scientific ideas and more recognised scientific concepts and theories.


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