The organisation that compiles the world's most prominent educational league tables is set to evaluate Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), the education secretary has announced.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was to carry out the work and report in 2015, Michael Russell said, coinciding with the introduction of the new Highers. The body would look at what had been achieved by CfE, as well as the challenges that remained.
The Royal Society of Edinburgh's education committee would provide "advice and support" to the OECD, Mr Russell added.
Scottish educational researchers have long sought a thorough review of CfE and David Raffe, professor of sociology of education at the University of Edinburgh, described the announcement as "very good news". The OECD was a "respected body" with "an outside perspective", Professor Raffe said.
He warned, however, that further oversight was necessary. "It is not just a matter of having a one-off evaluation, however well and independently conducted," he said.
Mr Russell also used his speech at the Scottish Learning Festival in Glasgow this week to announce that an additional #163;1.4 million was being put aside to support the implementation of the new National qualifications, in response to teachers' concerns, as well as funding for the Scottish College for Educational Leadership, which is due to open to teachers next year.
The education secretary said that #163;1 million of the #163;1.4 million package would supplement existing learning resources and buy new textbooks, while the other #163;400,000 would go to Heriot-Watt University's online portal, Scholar, which provides support for a range of Scottish school qualifications.