The majority of children like to be assessed in science at primary level, but do not enjoy sitting SAT exams.
A study published by the Wellcome Trust and carried out by researchers from Belfast Queen's University found there is overwhelming support for testing, but that most pupils prefer taking end-of-topic tests, rather than SATs.
"What is striking about this report is not that younger children like science but that they value assessment and the importance of feedback in helping them with their learning," said Professor Derek Bell, head of education at the Wellcome Trust.
We need to respect these views and find ways to nurture children's natural curiosity, while at the same time making sure parents know how well they are performing, he added.
Speaking earlier this year, Dr Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said SATs are not effective and cause stress for teachers, pupils and parents.