Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM)

Evaluation Report

Published in: Education Endowment Foundation website (2022)

Posted on RAND.org on July 13, 2022

by Miriam Broeks, Lucy Gilder, Giulia Lanfredi, Elena Rosa Brown, Frederico Cardoso

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Primary Science Quality Mark (PSQM) is a professional learning programme for primary science subject leaders (SSLs). It focuses on improving school self-evaluation of science. It is available to primary schools in the U.K. and internationally. PSQM seeks to improve science teaching and learning throughout the school by improving the skill, quality, and confidence of science subject leadership.

PSQM comprises training and mentoring led by 'hub leaders' for groups of science subject leaders (SSLs). The programme also involves a structured set of activities carried out by the subject leaders in school. The quality mark is achieved following the submission and assessment of a reflective portfolio of evidence of the impact of the improved subject leadership. Existing qualitative research suggests that PSQM can benefit schools in multiple ways. However, to date there is no experimental evidence on whether PSQM accreditation leads to improvements in pupil outcomes in science or related subjects.

This project and its evaluation were affected by the 2020 and 2021 partial school closures and social distancing regulations caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic: the trial and PSQM submission date was extended and intervention schools were invited to receive additional delivery intended to partly compensate for lost time. Implementation and process evaluation data collection occurred throughout the evaluation until July 2021. Ultimately, the collection of pupil outcome data was not possible. The impact evaluation element was foregone and, therefore, we cannot estimate the impact of the project on science subject attainment.

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