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Teacher assessment in primary science (TAPS) – Bath Spa University

Teacher Assessment in Primary Science

The TAPS project aims to develop support for valid, reliable and manageable teacher assessment

The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project is funded by the Primary Science Teaching Trust (PSTT) and based at Bath Spa's School of Education. It aims to develop support for valid, reliable and manageable teacher assessment, which can have a positive impact on children’s learning.

Outputs, outcomes, impact

TAPS has worked with 93 project schools spanning all four countries in the UK, becoming an accepted model of best practice in teacher assessment. TAPS has supported teachers, both in and beyond project schools, to improve their primary science teaching practices and develop validity and reliability in school assessment processes. Face-to-face training has been delivered to over 9700 teachers across the UK.  TAPS resources are available free online and have been downloaded 232,000 times and in 123 countries.

Funding sources

TAPS has received funding from the Primary Science Teaching Trust since 2013:

  • TAPS-1 (2013-16): £135,000
  • TAPS-2 (2016-19): £165,000 and
  • TAPS-3 (2019-22): £150,000.

TAPS was also supported by the Education Endowment Foundation and Wellcome Trust to run a randomised control trial: Focus4TAPS (2018-21): £398,500. The TAPS CPD programme was found to have a positive impact on pupil learning (see TAPS impact booklet) and the EEF are now funding a capacity building stage for national roll out.

In detail

The Teacher Assessment in Primary Science (TAPS) project was initially developed in response to a lack of guidance following the removal of the statutory levelling system in England, which resulted in uncertainty regarding how to assess primary science.

The Bath Spa team built on earlier research (Improving Science Together) and initially worked with a group of 12 schools in South West England, to research and develop a new approach. More recently, TAPS has expanded to address similar issues for teaching and assessment of primary science across the UK, developing principles and guidance for teaching the wide-ranging curricular of Wales (2016-18), Northern Ireland (2017-19) and Scotland (2019-21). 

TAPS utilises a qualitative Design-Based Research (DBR) approach, whereby university tutors and school teachers work together as co-researchers to develop both theoretical principles and classroom resources to support the teaching, learning and assessment of primary science. The project makes two key original contributions to research and practice: the TAPS pyramid, an exemplified school self-evaluation tool, and the Focused Assessment database of plans and examples, all of which are available on the open access TAPS website.

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