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Kendra McMahon

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Personal statement

My main research interest is the teaching of science in primary schools. I have researched talk in science with a focus on dialogic teaching and I am currently concerned with developing teacher assessment in science. I am interested in the implications of sociocultural theory and conceptions of dialogic teaching for primary science.

My publications include both books for teaching professionals and academic articles.

I teach on both undergraduate education modules and the Primary PGCE, specialising in Primary Science Education and Teaching and Professionalism.

As leader of the Bath Spa University research group CRESL I am involved with research into primary science pedagogy.

I am currently researching the formative and summative assessment of science in primary schools as part of the three year Teacher Assessment in Primary Science project(TAPS)funded by the Primary Science teaching Trust

I was responsible for leading the See the Science Project (2012-13), funded by the Primary science Teaching Trust, which examined how to strengthen the place of science in the curriculum through cross curricular planning and thoughtful use of talk.

I led the two year Improving Science Together (IST) project (1999-2001) that focussed on assessment of scientific enquiry in primary school and on transition to secondary school. This was funded by the AstraZeneca Science Teaching Trust.

Previously I enjoyed teaching in primary schools in Bristol and South Gloucestershire for 9 years, including two years as deputy head.

Academic qualifications

  • BSc(Hons) University of Bristol
  • PGCE University of Brighton
  • MEd UWE
  • PhD Bath Spa University

Professional qualifications

  • BSc(Hons) Physiology
  • PGCE
  • MEd
  • PhD

Professional memberships

  • Association for Science Education (ASE)
    Member of West of England Region Committee (West of England Region chair 2001-2003)
  • Member of ASE National Primary committee 1998-2002).
    I was presented with the ASE Special Service Award (2008).
  • BERA (Bristish Educational Research Association)
  • ESERA (European Science Education Research Association)

External examiners

University of Brighton Science Education (1/3/2004-1/9/2008)

Other external roles

  • Primary Science Consultancy/INSET 
  • Community Governor Backwell and Westleigh Schools Federation

Recent professional updating

  • European Science Education Research Association (ESERA) Conference Helsinki 2015
  • ICASE conference, Tartu Estonia, 2010
  • Association for Science Education (ASE) Annual Meeting Leeds 2008
  • The II International Conference "Research in Didactics of Chemistry Poland 2007 Pedagogical University of Kraków
  • ASE Annual Meeting, Reading, 2006.
  • European Science Education Research Association ESERA Conference 2006 Barcelona

Teaching specialism

  • PGCE Primary: Science
  • Education studies:
    • Science Education
    • Teaching and Professionalism

Current scholarship

Research supervision - PhD students

  • (DoS) Sarah Earle - Teacher assessment in primary science
  • Julie Byrne - Multimodality in KS3 music lessons
  • Rebecca Digby - Creativity, Science and communities for professional development in the Early years
  • (DoS) Isabelle Hopwood-Stephens - Evaluation of the Impact of the TAPS project

Research and academic outputs

Go to ResearchSPAce

Science 5-11: a guide for teachers. 3rd ed
book

Howe, A, Collier, C, McMahon, K, Earle, S and Davies, D (2017) Science 5-11: a guide for teachers. 3rd ed. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781138690578


Teaching science and technology in the early years (3-7). 2nd ed
book

Davies, D, Earle, S, Collier, C, Digby, R, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2014) Teaching science and technology in the early years (3-7). 2nd ed. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780415825580


The primary science and technology encyclopaedia
book

Davies, D, Collier, C, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2011) The primary science and technology encyclopaedia. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9780415478182


Science 5-11: a guide for teachers. 2nd ed
book

Davies, D, Towler, L, Scott, T, Collier, C, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2009) Science 5-11: a guide for teachers. 2nd ed. Routledge, London. ISBN 9780415480468


Science 5-11: a guide for teachers
book

Davies, D, Towler, L, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2005) Science 5-11: a guide for teachers. David Fulton, London. ISBN 9781843123194


Teacher assessment of science in English primary schools
book_section

Davies, D, Earle, S, Collier, C, Digby, R, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2016) 'Teacher assessment of science in English primary schools.' In: Lavonen, J, Juuti, K, Lampiselkä, J, Uitto, A and Hahl, K, eds. Electronic proceedings of the ESERA 2015 Conference - Science Education Research: Engaging Learners for a Sustainable Future. (co-ed. Jens Dolin & Per Kind) (Pt. 11). University of Helsinki, Helsinki, pp. 1577-1588. ISBN 9789515115416


Creative pedagogies in early years science: thematic planning and sustained scientific dialogues
book_section

McMahon, K, Howe, A, Davies, D, Collier, C and Earle, S (2016) 'Creative pedagogies in early years science: thematic planning and sustained scientific dialogues.' In: Lavonen, J, Juuti, K, Lampiselkä, J, Uitto, A and Hahl, K, eds. Electronic proceedings of the ESERA 2015 Conference - Science Education Research: Engaging Learners for a Sustainable Future. (co-ed.Esmé Glauert & Fani Stylianidou), Pt. 15 . University of Helsinki, Helsinki, pp. 2626-2638. ISBN 9789515115416


Talk, narrative and sustained shared thinking
book_section

Rose, J, Black, P, Hughes, S and McMahon, K (2014) 'Talk, narrative and sustained shared thinking.' In: Davies, D, Howe, A, Collier, C, Digby, R, Earle, S and McMahon, K, eds. Teaching science and technology in the early years (3-7). 2nd ed. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 33-53. ISBN 9780415825580


A thematic approach to humans and animals in Early Years education
book_section

Collier, C and McMahon, K (2014) 'A thematic approach to humans and animals in Early Years education.' In: Davies, D, Howe, A, Collier, C, Digby, R, Earle, S and McMahon, K, eds. Teaching science and technology in the early years (3-7). 2nd ed. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 125-144. ISBN 9780415825580


Literacy and numeracy in science
book_section

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2012) 'Literacy and numeracy in science.' In: Alsop, S and Hicks, K, eds. Teaching science: a handbook for primary and secondary school teachers. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 169-182. ISBN 9780749432843


Smoothing the trajectory: primary-secondary transfer issues in science education
book_section

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2011) 'Smoothing the trajectory: primary-secondary transfer issues in science education.' In: Howe, A and Richards, V, eds. Bridging the transition from primary to secondary school. David Fulton, Abingdon.


Creativity in life processes and living things
book_section

McMahon, K (2006) 'Creativity in life processes and living things.' In: Oliver, A, ed. Creative Teaching: Science in the Early Years and Primary classroom. London, David Fulton, pp. 119-142. ISBN 1843122596


Trainee primary teachers and creativity in the curriculum
book_section

Davies, D, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2004) 'Trainee primary teachers and creativity in the curriculum.' In: Burton, N, ed. Creativity beyond compliance: ATSE annual conference proceedings. Association for Science Education, Hatfield, UK. ISBN 9780863574023


Assessing young children's learning in science and D&T
book_section

Howe, A and McMahon, K (2003) 'Assessing young children's learning in science and D&T.' In: Davies, D and Howe, A, eds. Teaching science and design technology in the early years. David Fulton, London, pp. 51-69. ISBN 9781853468803


Using literacy and numeracy skills in science
book_section

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2001) 'Using literacy and numeracy skills in science.' In: Alsop, S and Hicks, K, eds. Teaching science. Kogan Page, London.


Interdisciplinary bridging: a design-based research approach to enhancing the learning sciences in primary initial teaching education
article

McMahon, K and Etchells, P.J (2018) 'Interdisciplinary bridging: a design-based research approach to enhancing the learning sciences in primary initial teaching education.' Impact, 2.


Moderation for professional learning
article

Earle, S and McMahon, K (2017) 'Moderation for professional learning.' Primary Science, 149. pp. 28-30. ISSN 0269-2465


Development and exemplification of a model for Teacher Assessment in Primary Science
article

Davies, D. J, Earle, S, McMahon, K, Howe, A and Collier, C (2017) 'Development and exemplification of a model for Teacher Assessment in Primary Science.' International Journal of Science Education. ISSN 0950-0693


Preparing science teachers for assessment without levels
article

Davies, D, Collier, C, Earle, S, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2015) 'Preparing science teachers for assessment without levels.' Science Teacher Education, 72 (Feb). pp. 9-16. ISSN 0961-6152


Case studies of interactive whole-class teaching in primary science: communicative approach and pedagogic purposes
article

McMahon, K (2012) 'Case studies of interactive whole-class teaching in primary science: communicative approach and pedagogic purposes.' International Journal of Science Education, 34 (11). pp. 1687-1708. ISSN 0950-0693


E-scape assessment
article

Davies, D, Collier, C, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2010) 'E-scape assessment.' Primary Science, 115. pp. 18-21. ISSN 0269-2465


Modelling dialogic teaching in primary science teacher education
article

Davies, D, Collier, C, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2008) 'Modelling dialogic teaching in primary science teacher education.' Science Teacher Education, 53 (Nov). pp. 12-16. ISSN 0961-6152


A smooth trajectory: developing continuity and progression between primary and secondary science education through a jointly planned projectiles project
article

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2004) 'A smooth trajectory: developing continuity and progression between primary and secondary science education through a jointly planned projectiles project.' International Journal of Science Education, 26 (8). pp. 1009-1021. ISSN 1464-5289


Building bridges between primary and secondary science - for children and for teachers
article

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2003) 'Building bridges between primary and secondary science - for children and for teachers.' Primary Science Review, 80. pp. 7-9.


Assessment for enquiry: supporting teaching and learning in primary science
article

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2003) 'Assessment for enquiry: supporting teaching and learning in primary science.' Science Education International, 14 (4). pp. 29-39. ISSN 1022-6117


Teacher assessment of science in English primary schools
conference_item

Davies, D, McMahon, K, Howe, A, Collier, C, Digby, R and Earle, S (2015) Teacher assessment of science in English primary schools. In: ESERA2015 : 11th Biannual Conference of the European Science Education Research Association, 31 August- 4 September 2015, Helsinki, Finland.


Creative pedagogies in early years science: thematic planning and sustained scientific dialogues
conference_item

McMahon, K, Howe, A, Davies, D, Collier, C and Earle, S (2015) Creative pedagogies in early years science: thematic planning and sustained scientific dialogues. In: ESERA2015 : 11th Biannual Conference of the European Science Education Research Association, 31 August - 4 September 2015, Helsinki, Finland.


Primary science enquiry assessment using real-time e-portfolios: the e-scape project
conference_item

Davies, D, Collier, C, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2011) Primary science enquiry assessment using real-time e-portfolios: the e-scape project. In: Association for Science Education Annual Conference, 5 - 10 January 2011, University of Reading.


Interactive whole-class teaching in science lessons
conference_item

McMahon, K (2010) Interactive whole-class teaching in science lessons. In: International Confederation of Associations of Science Education Conference: Innovation in Science and Technology Education, 28 June - 2 July 2010, University of Tartu, Talinn, Estonia.


Modelling dialogic teaching in primary science teacher education
conference_item

Davies, D, McMahon, K, Howe, A and Collier, C (2008) Modelling dialogic teaching in primary science teacher education. In: ASE BERA Science SIG Conference, 2-5 January 2008, Liverpool University, Liverpool.


Improving assessment and focussed teaching of scientific enquiry in primary schools
conference_item

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2003) Improving assessment and focussed teaching of scientific enquiry in primary schools. In: ICASE World Conference on Science and Technology Education, 7-10 April 2003, Penang, Malaysia.


The use of link projects within an industrial context to improve continuity and progression between primary and secondary science education
conference_item

Davies, D and McMahon, K (2003) The use of link projects within an industrial context to improve continuity and progression between primary and secondary science education. In: ICASE World Conference on Science and Technology Education, 7-10 April 2003, Penang, Malaysia.


Interactive whole class teaching in science lessons in Key Stage 2 classes
thesis

McMahon, K (2010) Interactive whole class teaching in science lessons in Key Stage 2 classes. PhD thesis, Bath Spa University.


The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) school self-evaluation tool [updated]
commissioned_report

Earle, S, McMahon, K, Collier, C, Howe, A and Davies, D (2017) The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) school self-evaluation tool [updated]. Primary Science Teaching Trust, Bristol.


The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) school self-evaluation tool
commissioned_report

Earle, S, McMahon, K, Collier, C, Howe, A and Davies, D (2016) The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) school self-evaluation tool.


Introducing the TAPS pyramid model
commissioned_report

Earle, S, Davies, D, McMahon, K, Collier, C, Howe, A and Digby, R (2015) Introducing the TAPS pyramid model. Primary Science Teaching Trust, Primary Science Teaching Trust website.


Approaches to Science assessment in English primary schools: teachers' summary
commissioned_report

Davies, D, Collier, C, Earle, S, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2014) Approaches to Science assessment in English primary schools: teachers' summary.


Approaches to Science assessment in English primary schools: interim findings from the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project
commissioned_report

Davies, D, Collier, C, Earle, S, Howe, A and McMahon, K (2014) Approaches to Science assessment in English primary schools: interim findings from the Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project.


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