Kendra McMahon

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, CRiSTLE, 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

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

Davies, D, Howe, A, Collier, C, Digby, R, Earle, S and McMahon, K (2019) Teaching science and technology in the early years (3-7). 3rd ed. Routledge, Abingdon. ISBN 9781138613058


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


Professionalism and education
book_section

Hordern, J and McMahon, K (2019) 'Professionalism and education.' In: Simon, C.A and Ward, S, eds. A student's guide to education studies. 4th ed. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 246-257. ISBN 9780367276690


Young children as scientists, designers and technologists – theories of learning
book_section

Rose, J, Hattingh, L and McInnes, K (2019) 'Young children as scientists, designers and technologists – theories of learning.' 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). 3rd ed. Routledge, Abingdon, pp. 17-35. ISBN 9781138613058


Teacher questions for learning in science
book_section

McMahon, K and Eley, A (2018) 'Teacher questions for learning in science.' In: Serret, N and Earle, S, eds. ASE guide to primary science education. 4th ed. Association for Science Education, Hatfield, pp. 238-247. ISBN 9780863574573


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.


The impact of a modified initial teacher education on challenging trainees’ understanding of neuromyths
article

McMahon, K, Yeh, C.S.-H and Etchells, P.J (2019) 'The impact of a modified initial teacher education on challenging trainees’ understanding of neuromyths.' Mind, Brain and Education. ISSN 1751-2271


Reaching in-service primary teachers with research innovations: the role of dissemination events in stimulating download activity
article

Hopwood-Stephens, I and McMahon, K (2019) 'Reaching in-service primary teachers with research innovations: the role of dissemination events in stimulating download activity.' European Journal of Teacher Education, 42 (3). pp. 297-314. ISSN 0261-9768


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, 39 (14). pp. 1869-1890. 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


The learning sciences in primary initial teacher education
conference_item

McMahon, K (2018) The learning sciences in primary initial teacher education. In: Third Space: Science of Learning, 17 March 2018, Heslington, UK.


Too much talk about talk
conference_item

Digby, R and McMahon, K (2017) Too much talk about talk. In: BERA Annual Conference, 4 - 7 September 2017, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.


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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