The Government's task force on underachievement, whose membership was announced last week, will look at whether the emphasis on self-assessment by schools is effective for individual children.
As well as monitoring what happens in certain schools, the task force will ask whether the Scottish Office apparatus for measuring performance, centred on the Audit Unit, is producing the most meaningful indicators.
From its first meeting this week, it has until September to advise the Secretary of State on strategies to improve performance in both primaries and secondaries.
Hamish Robertson, the task force's chairman, is a former under-secretary in the Scottish Office Education Department. He told The TES Scotland that after a period of retirement since 1992 "growing cabbages", he expected a busy summer.
The other members are: Robert Barfoot, headteacher of Rosebank primary, Nairn; Richard Staite, headteacher of Beeslack High, Penicuik, and a former member of the National Commission on Education; Bruce Malone, headteacher of St Andrew's Roman Catholic Secondary, Glasgow; Charles Skene, chairman of the Skene group of companies in Aberdeen and of the CBI Scotland enterprise group and founder of the Skene Young Entrepreneur Award; and Martha Steadman, former headteacher of St Leonards School, St Andrews, and currently vice-chairman of Fife Health Board.