Achievement in science subjects is an essential foundation for careers in technology, science, engineering, among a host of others. There is strong evidence of a link between economic disadvantage and attainment in science. As in many other areas, one of the main barriers to participation in science for disadvantaged young people is poor prior attainment. If approaches can be identified which successfully boost attainment, this barrier can be reduced.

This page presents evidence on teaching science from the Teaching and Learning Toolkit alongside the results from relevant EEF projects.

Evidence Summary

To date, the EEF has not undertaken any synthesis of evidence on effective practice in science teaching and The Teaching and Learning Toolkit does not include a strand specifically on teaching science. To address we have commissioned a review of the current evidence about science education in formal education settings for young people, in partnership with the Royal Society. The review will identify the most promising approaches and programmes which can support young people to achieve key educational outcomes in science, with a particular focus on pupils from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. The final report is due in autumn 2016 and we hope to support a number of new science-specific projects as a result.

The Teaching and Learning Toolkit provides useful evidence on a number of teaching and learning strategies that can be effective in teaching a range of subjects, including science. The evidence suggests that approaches which encourage learners to think about their own learning, such as meta-cognition, feedback and peer tutoring, can have a relatively high impact on attainment, and there is particular interest in applying meta-cognition and ‘thinking skills’ strategies to teaching science. For example, Thinking, Doing, Talking Science is a programme that aims to make science lessons in primary schools more practical, creative and challenging by encouraging pupils to use higher order thinking skills in science lessons. In an initial trial the programme appeared to have a positive impact on the attainment of pupils in science. The EEF is now testing a more scalable model of the approach. 


More information on our science review can be found here. The details of the review will be added to this page when it is complete.