Assessment Techniques in Primary Science.

Essay by suemaryUniversity, Bachelor's January 2006

download word file, 10 pages 4.5

Science education provides a way of making sense of the world, of 'responding to those 'why?' questions that children have in a meaningful way' (Howe et al, 2005, p.6). In an increasingly technological world the need has never been greater to provide not only scientists of the future but a nation of people who are 'science literate' (Howe et al, 2005, p5). This term encompasses not only factual knowledge (SC2, 3 & 4 in National Curriculum) but also scientific enquiry, or, the skills with which to investigate in a scientific manner (SC1 in NC). Ofsted reported that 'The highest standards seen are often in schools where the scheme of work includes well integrated experiences of scientific enquiry.' (Ofsted subject reports 2003/04, Science in primary schools: Once learnt, these skills will be transferred across all subjects and not solely limited to science. The teaching of science has been statutory since 1989.

The question is, how can teachers make the most of the weekly allotted time that science is given in order to maximise the achievement of all pupils?

Put formally, assessment is:

...a process of deciding, collecting and making inferences or judgements

about evidence of children's learning and skills. There is always a purpose to

the assessment relating to the use to which it is put and the action taken as a

result. (Harlen & Qualter, 2004, p121). Assessment is divided into two main categories: assessment OF learning (summative) and assessment FOR learning (formative). After a discussion of summative assessment this essay will then concentrate on strategies for formative assessment.

The topic of summative assessment is frequently in the media concerning the now notorious SATS given to all children at the end of key stage 2 (and KS1 for maths and English). These formal, written tests are meant to assess...