Primary mathematics and science specialists (PMSS)

The challenge

Teaching and learning mathematics and science in primary schools can present a challenge because of the specialist knowledge and skills that generalist primary teachers need to confidently develop to support robust student learning. This initiative involves an extended program for primary school teachers charged with supporting teachers in their schools to enhance the teaching and learning of mathematics and of science.

Project overview

The Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists (PMSS) initiative is a program funded by the Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) that aims to upskill primary teachers in government schools to become mathematics or science education specialists. STEME team researchers have been involved in the planning, delivery and refinement of research based professional learning activities for science specialists since the beginning of the program which currently involves a 6th cohort. Part of the research for this cohort involves the development and validation of a Science Inquiry Assessment (SIA) resource.

The PMSS initiative aims to:

  • increase student engagement and achievement in mathematics and science
  • increase teacher confidence and capability in teaching mathematics and science
  • increase understanding of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
  • have a sustainable impact in schools beyond the life of the initiative’s funding.

The aims are achieved by providing participants with intensive professional learning over a two-year period, delivered by experts in the fields of mathematics, science and STEM education.


Evaluations of previous PMSS cohorts have consistently shown that in schools with mathematics and science specialists there has been significant and above average growth in student achievement.

Project partners

Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) and EdPartnerships. 


Cohort 6: up to $212,120.
SIA development and validation: $50,000 


science education, STEM education, teacher professional learning, science assessment, teacher and learning science, science inquiry pedagogy