Just one in five pupils (21.2 per cent) reached the expected standard in the key stage 2 science Sats tests, new figures reveal.
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The test results from 2018 are way below the 82 per cent of pupils at the expected standard when assessed by teachers in the same year.
While teacher assessments in science were carried out for all Year 6 pupils, around 500,000 children, the science tests are a sample of around 9,500 pupils.
The science tests are taken every two years. The most recent tests were taken in 2018 and the results, out today, show that the numbers reaching the expected standard have dropped slightly from 2016, when 22.3 per cent of pupils reached the expected standard.
Today's results also reveal no significant difference in the proportion of boys and girls reaching the expected standard, but just 9.4 per cent of pupils eligible for free school meals reached the standard compared with 23.3 per cent of non-free school meals pupils.
The science tests consist of a number of questions comprising 330 marks, which are then split into 15 booklets (five on biology, five on chemistry and five on physics) of 22 marks each.
Each pupil completes one booklet in each of biology, chemistry and physics.