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Primary science assessment

Researchers: Professor Wynne Harlen, OBE

By Nuffield Foundation

Project overview

Developing policy, principles and practice in primary school science assessment is a report that sets out a proposed framework for the assessment of science in primary schools (Key Stages 1 and 2).

The report sets out a proposed framework for primary science assessment.

The framework is the outcome of a seminar held at the Nuffield Foundation on 7 and 8 June 2012. Participants included representatives of the Association for Science Education (ASE), SCORE (Science Community Representing Education), the Science Learning Centre East of England, the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust (now the Primary Science Teaching Trust), and the Primary Science Quality Mark project.

The framework describes how evidence of pupils’ attainment should be collected, recorded, communicated and used. It details how assessment data can be optimised for different uses and outlines the support needed to implement the procedures.

Stakeholder seminar, September 2012

Following publication of the report, a further seminar was held at the Nuffield Foundation, attended by a wide range of stakeholders. The consensus of the participants was that the assessment framework provided a firm basis on which to build. The working group is now planning to take its proposals further by engaging with other groups and piloting the ideas with teachers.

The Foundation has published a summary of the discussions from the stakeholder seminar.

Follow-on project

A follow-on initiative, the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project, is taking place from 2013 – 2016. TAPS is based at Bath Spa Unviersity and is funded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT).

Latest on this project


  • Professor Wynne Harlen, OBE
    Association for Science Education

  • Director, Education
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

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