Science knowledge and its sources: the views of Scottish children

Rae Stark, Donald S Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Assessment of Achievement Programme (AAP) has been conducting national
surveys of performance of pupils in Scottish schools since the early 1980s. The main aim is to monitor what children know and can do in English language, mathematics and science. In 1996, we conducted the fourth survey of performance in science. For the first time we included a questionnaire for pupils, designed to elicit their views on their learning experiences in science. The sample included approximately 2000 pupils at each of the three stages - Primary 4 (8/9 years), Primary 7(11/12 years) and Secondary 2 (13/14 years). The focus in this article is on the section of the questionnaire which asked children how much they thought they knew about some common science topics, such as weather and electricity, and where they thought they had acquired this knowledge. While this was essentially designed as a feasibility study, there are clear age differences in children's responses indicating aspects of learning science whichwarrant further investigation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 83
JournalCurriculum Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • science knowledge
  • science teaching
  • Scottish education
  • children's learning


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