The £12 million contract for delivering national tests in literacy and numeracy in Scottish schools has gone to the UK arm of an Australian not-for-profit organisation, the Australian Council for Educational Research.
The ACER told TESS that it had “extensive experience” of delivering online assessments on a similar scale to the tests that will be introduced in Scotland.
The organisation began developing computer-based assessments in 2006 when it worked with Pisa (the Programme for International Student Assessment). It has been delivering its own assessments since 2012, a spokesman said. The ACER now provides online assessments in more than 80 countries around the world.
'No extra workload'
The Scottish government revealed the successful tender last week when it published information leaflets on the new tests aimed at parents and teachers. Making the announcement, education secretary John Swinney insisted that the tests for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3 would not be “high stakes” because there would be no pass or fail.
Mr Swinney also said that pupils would not have to prepare or revise for the tests. The assessments would not generate extra workload for teachers because they would be marked automatically and would provide immediate feedback, he added.
“The standardised assessments will be an important tool for teachers, who will have an additional source of nationally consistent evidence about how well pupils are progressing,” Mr Swinney said.
Children will take the tests, covering reading, writing and numeracy, from next year.