Embedding Assessment Within Primary School Science: A Case Study

  • Angela Fitzgerald
  • Richard Gunstone


The reluctance of primary school teachers to teach science in their classrooms is well documented with issues such as limited science content knowledge and low levels of confidence in teaching the subject matter cited as key deterrents. The barriers posed by these issues often result in primary school teachers implementing occasional science lessons that pique their students’ interest, but not extending these lessons to promote the development of strong conceptual understandings or monitoring what learning has occurred. However, this is not the case in all primary school classrooms. This chapter documents the approach used by one teacher, Lisa, to create a coherent set of science learning experiences to meet the learning needs of her students as well as piquing their interest. This case study focuses on her use of assessment. Through embedding assessment into her science teaching and learning approaches, Lisa was able to monitor the development of her students’ science ideas, use evidence gathered from her students to inform her own practice and engage her students in assessment as part of their learning experience rather than the much more common approach of treating assessment as an additional or separate process. As Lisa’s story unfolds over the chapter, the significant role that assessment can play in developing and strengthening science teaching and learning in primary classrooms is highlighted.


Science Teaching Conceptual Understanding Formative Assessment Primary School Teacher Summative Assessment 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angela Fitzgerald
    • 1
  • Richard Gunstone
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, Faculty of EducationMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia

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