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Technical Quality Information
Contributed by: Assessment of Performance Unit (APU)

This task is one of a series of the APU surveys in Science of pupils aged 11, 13, and 15. The responsibility for the science surveys is shared between teams based at the University of Leeds and Chelsea College, University of London. The surveys have been carried out annually since 1980 and continued until 1984, after which a five year research phase began to culminate in another full survey in 1989.

The surveys are carried out on a random sample of 11 year old pupils in primary and middle schools and of 13 and 15 year olds in middle and secondary schools. The sample is a stratified random sample of schools in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland selected to allow performances to be reported for pupils in, for instance, particular areas of the country or types and age ranges of schools. Pupils are then drawn at random from each school giving a total sample of between one and two percent of the population at each age.

This sample is then subdivided to give a number of parallel subsamples each of which is given a different test package thus allowing an extensive testing program to be undertaken. Each year questions equivalent to a single test lasting 20 to 30 hours are used. This permits the questions themselves to be representative of a very broad view of science. However, any individual pupil is only tested for one hour and sees only a fraction of the complete test. This survey design, known as light sampling, allows a profile report to be produced of the performance in science of the population as a whole rather than for an individual.

Specific technical quality information is currently unavailable for this task.


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