PAT Inquiry and Problem Solving in STEM Contexts

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education is about much more than just preparing students for the workforce of the future – it helps young minds build the kind of inquiry skills essential for real-life problem solving in the modern world.

PAT Inquiry and Problem Solving in STEM Contexts (‘PAT STEM Contexts’) measures a student’s ability to answer questions through inquiry and to solve problems in STEM contexts.

Both inquiry questions and problems posed in STEM contexts require students to draw on their knowledge, skills and practices from across the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Progress is conceptualised in terms of the different cognitive skills employed during the inquiry or problem solving processes: knowing, applying and reasoning. The relevant domains of the Australian Curriculum in which STEM learning outcomes are apparent are: Science, Technologies (Digital and Design) and Mathematics.

Teaching resources to accompany PAT STEM Contexts are available in the PAT Teaching Resources Centre.


PAT STEM Contexts is delivered online only. Its focus is mainly on learning outcomes at Years 5 and 6 across two test forms that bridge the Middle years of schooling: Middle Years A (recommended for Years 4, 5 and 6) and Middle Years B (for Years 6, 7 and 8).

The assessment is highly dynamic and interactive, with drag-and-drop and hotspot functionality and animations to stimulate and engage students. Anticipated completion time for one assessment, including practice items, is one hour.

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