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Teacher assessment of science: what evidence is needed?


The 2018 teacher assessment guidance for key stage one and key stage two makes it clear that in science, there is no requirement to have evidence from the classroom that pupils have met statements relating to science content taught before the final year of the key stage.

This means Year two teachers will not be expected to re-assess the science content taught in Year one of the national curriculum. Year 6 teachers will not be expected to re-assess the science content taught in years three, four and five of the national curriculum.

The guidance says, where possible, teachers should draw on assessment judgements that were made by teachers in previous years in determining whether the pupil has grasped that science content. If this is not possible, a lack of evidence relating to the science content taught in years one, three, four and five does not preclude a child being judged as working at the expected standard.

This does not apply to 'working scientifically' statements.

To help schools know what evidence related to content is required, below are the "pupil can" statements from the teacher assessment frameworks for science, identifying which content relates to which year group.

Key stage one science content

The pupil can:

  • name and locate parts of the human body, including those related to the senses [year one], and describe the importance of exercise, balanced diet and hygiene for humans [year two]
  • describe the basic needs of animals for survival and the main changes as young animals, including humans, grow into adults [year two]
  • describe basic needs of plants for survival and the impact of changing these, and the main changes as seeds and bulbs grow into mature plants [year two]
  • identify whether things are alive, dead or have never lived [year two]
  • describe and compare the observable features of animals from a range of groups [year one]
  • group animals according to what they eat [year one], describe how animals get their food from other animals and/or from plants and use simple food chains to describe these relationships [year two]
  • describe seasonal changes [year one]
  • name different plants and animals [year one], and describe how they are suited to different habitats [year two]
  • use their knowledge and understanding of the properties of materials to distinguish objects from materials, identify and group everyday materials [year one], and compare their suitability for different uses [year two] 

Key stage two science content

The pupil can:

  • name, locate and describe the functions of the main parts of the digestive, musculoskeletal [year three] and circulatory systems [year six]; and describe and compare different reproductive processes and life cycles in animals [year five]
  • describe the effects of diet, exercise, drugs and lifestyle on how their bodies function [year six]  
  • name, locate and describe the functions of the main parts of plants, including those involved in reproduction [year five] and transporting water and nutrients [year three]
  • use the observable features of plants, animals and micro-organisms to group, classify and identify them into broad groups using keys or in other ways [year six]
  • construct and interpret food chains [year four]
  • explain how environmental changes may have an impact on living things [year four]
  • use the basic ideas of inheritance, variation and adaptation to describe how living things have changed over time and evolved [year six]; and describe how fossils are formed [year three] and provide evidence for evolution [year six]
  • group and identify materials, including rocks [year three], in different ways according to their properties and based on first-hand observation [year five]; and justify the use of different everyday materials for different uses based on their properties [year five]
  • describe the characteristics of different states of matter and group materials on this basis; and describe how materials change state at different temperatures and use this to explain everyday phenomena, including the water cycle [year four]
  • identify and describe what happens when dissolving occurs in everyday situations, and describe how to compare separate mixtures and solutions into their components [year five]
  • identify, with reasons, whether changes in materials are reversible or not [year five]
  • use the idea that light from sources, or reflected light, travels in straight lines and enters our eyes to explain how we see objects [year six]; and the formation [year three], shape [year six] and size of shadows [year three]
  • use the idea that sounds are associated with vibrations and that they require a medium to travel through to explain how sounds are made and heard [year four]
  • describe the relationship between the pitch of a sound and the features of its source; and between the volume of a sound, the strength of the vibrations and the distance from its source [year four]
  • describe the effects of simple forces that involve contact (air and water resistance, friction) [year five], and others that act at a distance (magnetic forces, including those between like and unlike magnetic poles) [year three]; and gravity [year five]
  • identify simple mechanisms, including levers, gears and pulleys, that increase the effect of a force [year five]
  • use simple apparatus to construct and control a series circuit, describe how the circuit may be affected when changes are made to it and use recognised symbols to represent simple series circuit diagrams [year six]
  • describe the shapes and relative movements of the Sun, Moon, Earth and other planets in the solar system; and explain the apparent movement of the Sun across the sky in terms of the Earth's rotation and that this results in day and night [year five].