ERO selected 13 schools for this in-depth study. These schools were selected with reference to ERO’s recent reviews of schools and in consultation with the Ministry of Education, the School Support Services and university lecturers in science education.
The criteria for selection centred on the extent to which they were likely to contribute evidence of good practice for this report. ERO also sought schools of different deciles, sizes and types to give a range of information about science education in Years 5 to 8.
The final group included a mix of high, middle and low decile schools. Four were rural, while another two were from small towns (minor urban centres). Of the 13 schools, five were contributing, three full primary, four intermediate schools and one Years 7 to 15 secondary school.
ERO evaluated each school’s approach to science education based on a set of good practice indicators (see Appendix 1). The indicators were drawn from the literature on science teaching.  The Ministry of Education and representatives from the science education community were also asked to comment and make suggestions on what should be included.
The indicators were used to make judgements about the extent to which good practice was evident in science education at the schools. Reviewers observed science lessons, analysed documents and met with school management, trustees, staff and students.