Proficiency levels - science literacy

The proficiency standard for science literacy was established after 2003 sample testing to provide parents, educators and the community with a clear picture of the proficiency in science literacy that students are expected to demonstrate by the end of Year 6. To identify the proficiency standard, an expert group of university science educators, curriculum officers and experienced primary teachers in all states and territories, from government, Catholic and independent schools were brought together. The members of this expert group used their classroom experience and knowledge of the science curricula in the various states and territories to examine the test items from the NAP sample assessment. This standard informed the development of the tests for the 2006 and 2009 sample assessments. 

Five levels of proficiency (levels 2, 3.1, 3.2, 3.3, 4) have been defined for NAP — science literacy, and are described in the table below. The proficient standard in science literacy has been determined to be at level 3.2. This means that students achieving at level 3.2 are considered to have a sound understanding of Year 6 science.

Proficiency level

Level descriptors

Level 2 or below

Describes a choice for a situation based on first-hand concrete experience, requiring the application of limited knowledge.

Identifies simple patterns in the data and/or interprets a data set containing some interrelated elements.

Makes measurements or comparisons involving information or stimulus in a familiar context.

Level 3.1

Selects appropriate reason to explain reported observation related to personal experience.

Interprets simple data set requiring an element of comparison.

Makes simple standard measurements and records data as descriptions.

Level 3.2

Interprets information in a contextualised report by application of relevant science knowledge.

Interprets data and identifies patterns in – and/or relationships between – elements of the data.

Collates and compares data set of collected information.

Gives reason for controlling a single variable.

Level 3.3

Applies knowledge of relationship to explain a reported phenomenon.

Extrapolates from an observed pattern to describe an expected outcome or event.

Demonstrates an awareness of the principles of conducting an experiment and controlling variables.

Level 4 and above

Explains interactions that have been observed in terms of an abstract science concept.

Conclusions summarise and explain the patterns in the data in the form of a rule and are consistent with the data.

When provided with an experimental design involving multiple variables, can identify the questions being investigated.

For more information, see How to interpret.