January 20th 2016

The Biennial Science Sampling Tests for Key Stage 2 resume this year, when the new National Curriculum for Science will be assessed for the first time in the summer term. The KS2 sampling tests form part of the statutory assessment arrangements for pupils at the end of KS2.

All pupils who are registered at maintained schools, special schools or academies (including free schools) in England and are at the end of KS2 will be eligible for selection to take part in the KS2 science sampling tests.

Tests are not taken by whole cohorts, instead a sample of 9,500 pupils (selected at random) based on five pupils from each of 1,900 schools. The tests will be securely administered by external assessors to the representative sample of pupils. If your school is selected, testing will take place during the two weeks commencing the 6th June and the 13th June. In addition this year, of the 1,900 schools selected for assessment a sample will be selected to participate in the pre-test trialling of the 2018 science sampling tests. Five additional pupils from each school will sit these tests.

For the biennial tests, there will be three papers, each of 25 minutes duration, covering questions in a biology context, a physics context and a chemistry context. There are five papers for each context, so each child will be sitting a different paper. Details about the content domain and the cognitive domain of these tests can be found in the ‘Science Sampling Test Framework’ which can be downloaded here.

The tests themselves are based on the relevant sections of the National Curriculum programme of study for science (2014) at KS2. You can download sample tests here.

However, some elements of the statutory National Curriculum for science are not possible to assess using the current form of testing; they will need to be assessed by teachers as part of their statutory assessment of the complete National Curriculum for science. These elements are covered by the ‘Working Scientifically’ strand of the National Curriculum. The content domain for ‘Working Scientifically’ also includes strands of the programme of study that cannot be assessed or can only be partially assessed due to their direct association with practical skills or experiences linked to the school location. These strands are included in parts of the following topics:

  • Planning
  • Carrying out
  • Measuring
  • Recording
  • Concluding
  • Reporting
  • Further work

Sigma Science provides you with a comprehensive assessment system for the whole of KS1 and KS2, particularly those practical areas, which are not able to be assessed through the statutory tests. The ‘Observation Notepad’ for example, allows teachers to assess areas of the ‘Working Scientifically’ strand, as children conduct one of the many practical investigations available to download from the Sigma Science website.