Developing APP in Science to encourage deeper learning

School or setting

Authored by:
Ed Walsh
Co-authored by:
Rebecca Stokes
Teign School
Type of school:
Local Authority:
South West
Free school meals:
Less than 20%


Year groups:
Year 7, Year 8, Year 9
Below age-related expectation, At age-related expectation, Above age-related expectation
Whole school:
People involved:
LA adviser, Subject leader, Teacher
Number of classes:
Number of adult learners:
Two teachers were involved in the pilot during 2007-8. There are currently eight teachers involved with implementing APP throughout Year 7.

What were your reasons for doing this type of development work?

The school was invited to participate in the pilot of Assessing Pupil Progress (APP) in science during 2007-8. At that time pupil progress was being tracked by using end of module tests and there was a feeling amongst some of the staff that this didn’t always generate evidence that was useful in helping pupils know how to improve. There was also a desire to develop stronger independent study skills so that when pupils progressed to higher level courses, especially post 16, they would be well equipped to deal with the challenges of such courses.
As the pilot developed it became clear to the staff involved that APP would help them to challenge pupils to develop a deeper understanding of the process of science, and to recognise informal learning of various forms.

Who might find this case study useful?

  • Head of school improvement
  • Headteacher
  • Middle leader
  • National Strategies consultant
  • Senior leadership team (SLT)
  • SIP (School Improvement Partner)
  • Subject leader
  • Teacher

Key points

Point 1

APP is good at informing teaching, identifying gaps in provision and encouraging teachers to be creative

Point 2

APP provides reliable evidence to inform discussions about pupil progress with a variety of audiences

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  • What

    The intention was to give pupils more independence in their study. Approaches included changing attitudes in the classroom, classroom enquiries and work scrutinies.

  • Impact

    It was found that pupils became more vocal in expressing their ideas in lessons. Teachers were more likely to use open-ended questions in lessons. Across the school, pupil progress data became more reliable.

  • Summary

    The crucial thing that made a difference was pupils knowing what they needed to do to be successful.