Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP has today criticised the First Minister's support for testing 5 year olds in primary school classes. Mr Scott has previously raised this with Education Secretary John Swinney at the Scottish Parliament’s education committee.
The SNP policy of standardised testing has been widely criticised, with recent reports suggesting that children have been left in tears. The policy has also been attacked by Professor Andy Hargreaves, a senior international adviser to John Swinney on education policy, who described standardised testing as an “attack on decisional capital” going on to say that “More testing means the testing replaces the judgement,” and that there was evidence “of testing actively causing ill-being”.
Responding to the First Minister's comments, Mr Scott said:
"Testing 5 year olds in Primary 1 is just not the right approach and I'm very disappointed that the First Minister continues to defend this system. Teachers are taking an hour with each boy and girl to get them through this pointless test. That is just plain wrong.
"Teachers have spent months with boys and girls in the classroom and have a far better sense of their progress than a hugely stressful hour of testing can provide.
"Ministers need to listen to parents and teachers and ditch this approach which puts so much pressure on young children. Primary 1 tests should not be conducted in our schools next year. Standardised testing of 5 year old children help no one.”