National tests for youngest pupils: review starts

Opinions are being sought on controversial standardised assessments for four- and five-year-olds in Scotland

Henry Hepburn

A review has been opened to look at controversial national tests for P1 pupils in Scotland

A review has been launched to look into controversial national assessments for Scotland’s youngest pupils.

The independent review, announced by the Scottish government in October, has now opened with a deadline for submissions of 1 March.

A report is then expected to be submitted to education secretary and deputy first minister John Swinney by the end of May.

The review will focus specifically on the experiences of P1 pupils – who are aged 4 or 5 – taking the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs). These tests have been far more controversial than those done by older P4, P7 and S3 pupils.

Online assessments were introduced in 2017 and are carried out through a multiple-choice computer exercise, although critics have claimed the tests are not appropriate for young children.

Are national tests suitable for P1 pupils?

The review will be headed up by David Reedy, who was co-director of the Cambridge Primary Review Trust from 2013-17 and has served as both general secretary and president of the UK Literacy Association, as well as previously being the principal primary schools adviser in the London borough of Barking and Dagenham.

He is seeking views from teachers, parents, councils and professional associations, and will also visit schools.

Mr Reedy said: "I encourage anyone with an interest to get in touch with the review, particularly those with experience of the assessments during the 2018-19 academic session."

Mr Swinney said: "It is crucial that we have the appropriate approach to assessment in our schools and that is why I commissioned this independent review into the use of P1 assessments.

"The review will consider the evidence gathered and be led by what is best for pupils. I look forward to receiving the review's conclusions later this year."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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