physical world  : Introduction

The assessments included eleven extended assessment tasks and three brief knowledge tasks related to the physical world strand of the science curriculum.

All of the extended tasks and two of the brief knowledge tasks were completely or largely the same for year 4 and year 8 students. One brief knowledge task was attempted only by year 8 students.

Four of the extended tasks are link tasks (to be used again in 1999), and therefore are not described in detail here. All of the other tasks are released tasks for which full details are given.

This chapter presents the assessment results in the following order:

  • the released extended tasks;
  • the brief knowledge tasks;
  • the four extended tasks which will be used as link tasks.

Averaged across tasks or major task components attempted by both year 4 and year 8 students, 58 percent of year 8 students produced correct or highly rated responses, compared to 41 percent of year 4 students. The superior performance of year 8 students occurred on all aspects of the tasks, such as demonstrating knowledge, investigating, describing, reasoning, explaining and predicting. Nevertheless, year 4 students outperformed year 8 students on a few task components which involved observation and reporting.