A scoping review of interventions in primary science education

James Deehan, Amy MacDonald, Christopher Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
205 Downloads (Pure)


Effective science education is crucial for developing a scientifically literate citizenry, and for many, foundational primary science education experiences play a significant role in defining their long-term science trajectories. However, primary science education has been limited by a dissonance between the poor science trajectories for generations of primary students and the positive findings often reported university research; a divide that teachers are primarily responsible for bridging. This paper presents a scoping review of primary science intervention literature from the past 20 years to both describe the research outputs and analyse the evidence for the effectiveness of different primary science teaching approaches.The search yielded 142 research outputs from 26 nations with data from as many as 36,021 students. The results showed an established field with robust research designs covering all science disciplines and primary school years. Effect size analyses showed that an array of student-centred interventions covaried with large to very large improvements in science content knowledge, skills and attitudes.With the effectiveness of many student-centred approaches established in primary science education, issues of feasibility and scalability should now become a central focus for all stakeholders.Limited coverage of K-2 science in the sample was a point of concern.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-43
Number of pages43
JournalStudies in Science Education
Issue number1
Early online date22 Dec 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2024


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