Collecting data won’t help pupils

6th November 2015 at 00:00

The Scottish government’s plans to place the National Improvement Framework on a statutory footing through amendments to the Education Bill are of serious concern to Voice Scotland. The national collection and publication of data on attainment could lead to the exact opposite of what is intended, as schools would look to perform well in tests rather than focus on individual pupil achievement.

There will always be a gap in attainment between learners because they are all different. If the system supports their needs, it can help them work towards their potential.

If data is collected nationally, Freedom of Information legislation would enable “interested parties” to compile “league tables” at authority and national level, which may prove counterproductive in terms of closing attainment gaps. Schools will be compared on results rather than on whether pupils are happy and working to their potential.

Teachers can provide better evidence and support for pupils than national standardised assessments. When local authorities are under financial constraints, it seems odd that the Scottish government considers it reasonable to place additional statutory requirements on them.

Dougie Atkinson

Professional officer, Voice Scotland

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