CANBERRA, March 15 - Results from a national science assessment of Year 6 students, released on Wednesday, show little movement in achievements since 2006.
Just over 55 per cent of students met the proficient standard - slightly up from 2006, although the level dropped in the intervening years.
But the great majority of students - about four in five - appeared to be interested in learning new things in science and doing scientific activities.
And there were highlights in results from Tasmania, where students did significantly better than in 2009, and Western Australia, which has maintained an improvement from 2006 that was first seen in the 2012 tests.
"This is a strong foundation on which to build student awareness of the importance of science in their everyday lives, build confidence, inspire excellence and encourage students to consider rewarding future careers in the field of science," testing authority ACARA chief Robert Randall said.
Girls performed better than boys across the board.
Independent schools said this suggested a national focus on engaging girls in science and maths subjects may be bearing fruit.
Randall said the results from the Australian assessments, combined with two international tests of other age groups, which were also released on Wednesday, highlighted the need for improvements in primary school science teaching.
ACARA's report includes a section with suggestions on how to improve science learning using the national curriculum, including sample activities teachers could use to teach different concepts.