There is "no correlation" between the amount of testing in an education system and pupil anxiety, the head of the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) has said.
Andreas Schleicher, the director for education and skills at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said anxiety was more influenced by whether "students feel themselves supported by their teachers" when taking tests.
His words come despite well reported claims that a test-oriented culture in countries such as China generate stress and have even contributed to teenage suicides.
Speaking in London on the first day of the Education World Forum in London this morning, Mr Schleicher said: "[Some people say] tests drive students’ anxiety these days.
"We don’t have much evidence to support that actually - there’s no correlation across countries between the prevalence of tests in a system and students’ anxiety.
He said that "student anxiety has a lot more to do with whether students feel themselves supported by their teachers".
"The relationship aspect is far more important than the prevalence of tests of some kind."
Mr Schleicher highlighted the Netherlands and Estonia as countries where students took a lot of tests but pupils "felt perfectly relaxed", in contrast to "the US and England where students felt very worried about the next test".
"That’s not about tests - it’s about how we use them and the extent to which students feel supported, at least from the evidence that we have."