Scott: Education committee report paves the way for ending P1 testing

Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP has said that the publication of a new Education Committee report today “paves the way” for Scottish National Standardised Assessments to be scrapped as he warned that the Scottish Government had no evidence for the imposition of testing prior to their introduction. Ministers “created policies to match their speeches, at the expense of teachers and pupils alike.”

Following an inquiry into Scottish National Standardised Assessments, the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee concluded that:

  • The Scottish Government should look into reintroducing and expanding the scrapped Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy.
  • The policy making process was “perhaps compromised” as a result of the speed of introduction of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs).
  • “There appears to be an inconsistency from, and between, organisations at a strategic level as to the purpose of SNSAs.” While SNSAs were presented as a formative assessment, they can ‘undoubtedly’ also have a summative function.
  • Scottish Government, local authorities and schools should expect demands for FOI releases relating to the performance of schools or local authorities based on the SNSA, paving the way for the assembly of league tables by the back door.
  • The Scottish Government should undertake an assessment of the workload implications of SNSAs, which take up a “substantial amount of teaching time”

Commenting on the report, Mr Scott said:

“This report shows that there was no evidence for the imposition of testing in Scotland’s youngest school children. The assessments were poorly thought through and badly implemented. This all-party report paves the way for primary tests to be scrapped altogether.

“The Scottish Government should have used teacher experience to inform their education policy to begin with. Instead, Ministers created policies to match their speeches. The effect of their policy was an afterthought to that most dangerous political approach - the need to be seen to be doing something.

“The least the government can do at this point is listen to teachers and scrap these assessments.”

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