Independent Review to Assess Primary 1 Testing

school pupilsAn Independent review is to take place into the use of standardised testing in Primary 1. It has not been decided yet who will carry out the review but the Scottish Government will be advised by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education.

The review comes after teaching unions , parents and politicians expressed serious concerns about the introduction of standardised testing in P1 in Scotland’s schools by the Scottish Government.

It is intended that the review will publish its findings by the end of May 2019. They will then be debated in the Scottish Parliament. Some local authorities had already taken the decision to stop using the tests.

John Swinney, Deputy First Minister, in the Scottish Government said:

John Swinney

Deputy First Minister John Swinney (Photo Scot Gov)

“I believe that an assessment which lasts less than an hour in a year and is deployed in the correct environment is entirely compatible with that play-based approach.

“I do, however, fully recognise that view is not shared by all and accept the importance of ensuring the specific design of the assessments are aligned with a play-based approach.”

Acknowledging the concerns raised, however, by parents, teachers and MSPs he agreed to set up the independent review.

The review will consider and provide recommendations on the following issues:

· the compatibility of the assessments with the play based approach to early level of CfE;
· the alignment of the assessments to the benchmarks for early level;
· the effect of taking an on-line assessment on P1 children;
· the usefulness of the diagnostic information provided to teachers and how it supports their professional judgement;
· the implications of the review for the ongoing development of the national Gaelic Medium Education standardised assessments; and
· the future of the assessments considering in particular whether they continue in line with the current continuous improvement model, whether they be substantially modified, or whether they should be stopped.

Concluding his remarks John Swinney said:

“I ask colleagues across the Chamber to move this discussion away from politics, to focus on the educational needs of our children and to support the independent review of P1 assessments that I’ve set out today.  “

Reporter: Fiona Grahame

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