Improving pupil outcomes in science while reducing teacher workload

This innovation will investigate the effect of Learning by Questions on Progress Test in science scores for Year 7 pupils.


Workload is an issue that affects all teachers. Most teachers believe the effective use of ICT in the classroom can reduce workload and benefit the progress of pupils. However, evidence is lacking into specific approaches that demonstrate this. Learning by Questions (LbQ) is a classroom application that uses scaffolded questions and immediate feedback to develop pupil mastery of curriculum content. Real time assessment data from LbQ allows teachers to offer immediate intervention towards individuals or groups of pupils, without the need to mark pupil work.


LbQ will be integrated into the curriculum of the intervention group. LbQ science question sets have been mapped to the Sacred Heart Year 7 schemes of work. All teaching groups will receive a summary lesson at the end of each topic.

The control groups will receive a standard hour-long end of topic summary lesson and starter activities. The intervention group will receive an hour-long summary lesson that uses LbQ and LbQ ‘Working Scientifically’ question sets will be completed as starter activities across the year.

Note: A maximum of three question sets will be used in a summary lesson. Every additional three sets will receive an additional revision session e.g. Year 7 topic B3 will require three LbQ summary lessons. The control group will receive extra non-LbQ summary lessons where necessary to ensure both groups receive the same summary time.

The project coordinator will create a log for intervention group teachers to ensure that each question set is completed at the appropriate time.

All pupils involved in the trial will take the GL Assessment Progress Test in science at pre- and post-testing to provide standard age and stanine scores in biology, chemistry, physics and working scientifically. The tests are paper based and will be marked by GL Assessment. We would expect the results of the post-test to show that pupils in the intervention group will make greater levels of progress.

Control and intervention teachers will take an online survey at the start and end of the trial to evaluate the impact of LbQ on teacher workload.

The evaluation will run for one whole academic year.

Lead school

  • Sacred Heart High School:

Year levels

  • Year 7


  • Science


  • 12 months

Download the protocol document