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Development of a Year 5 Science Assessment for use as an evaluation outcome measure

York Trials Unit (YTU) has partnered with CIEC (Department of Chemistry, University of York) to develop a new and up to date science attainment measure for use in RCTs. The existing assessments are considered either to be outdated in terms of curriculum coverage, or inadequate in terms of covering the “working scientifically” element. The measure is intended to be a 45-minute age-appropriate (9-10 years, Year 5 primary) assessment suitable for whole-class administration.

The project will comprise four phases. Phase 1 will be a small pilot study (24 pupils in two schools) giving face-to-face, individual feedback on a number of potential questions. Phase 2 (900+ pupils in 22 schools) involves administering the questions selected after Phase 1, enabling further selection and refinement after appropriate statistical analysis. The final version of the assessment will be administered in Phase 3 (800+ pupils, 20 schools) allowing the performance of the full instrument, as well as individual questions, to be analysed. Test-re-test reliability will then be checked amongst a sub-sample of Phase 3 schools a few weeks later (Phase 4: 500+ pupils, 14 schools).

For Phase 1, two schools known to one of the researchers will be recruited in NE England and 12 pupils in each school will participate. The sample for Phases 2-4 will consist of schools responding to an email invitation and recruited from four regions of England (NE, NW, London and Herts/Cambs), and they will be asked to involve all Year 5 pupils who have not been withdrawn by their parents/carers.

NOTE: originally, fieldwork for this project was due to be completed by summer 2020, but was extended into autumn school term 2020 (when the pupils were in Year 6) because of the school closures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic

More detail about the study can be found here.

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Education Endowment Foundation (EEF)

Wellcome Trust

Start Date:

October 2019

End Date:

July 2021


YTU Team

External Team

  • Joy Parvin
  • Jane Winter
  • Nicole Waller (CIEC)