Ministers want to give parents a more rounded picture of their child's and school's performance and have pledged to remove the emphasis on exams. The new national report pulls together evidence from all local authorities and will be used as the benchmark to judge progress over the next three years.
Mr Stephen said that raising standards meant good information based on all five national priorities. "We want to look across all of those national priorities, not only at exam results," he said.
"I absolutely agree that you cannot and should not reduce the outcomes of education to a simple table of exam results for each school. That is why we reject league tables in Scotland. The key reason for assessment should be to support the learning of the individual child."
Mr Stephen described the new baseline report as a "huge step forward" and said that it would provide "a clear and meaningful understanding" of performance.
But Brian Monteith, Tory education spokesman, accused the Scottish Executive of failing to reveal its hand on sanctions against authorities that fail to meet targets because it did wanted to get the election out of the way first.
Debate, page 7