Friday 22 September 2017

The EIS has welcomed the announcement by Deputy First Minister John Swinney that the Scottish Government will not collect pupil-level data from new national Standardised Assessments but will focus only on national trends such as looked after and accommodated children.

This confirms that the Scottish Government does not intend to support any form of ‘league tables’ of schools based on standardised assessment results.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS welcomes the clarification from the Deputy First Minister that the Scottish Government will not gather pupil-level data from standardised assessments."

"The Deputy First Minister was clear that the new assessments are intended to serve as a diagnostic tool to be utilised by teachers to support their own professional judgement of pupil progress. It remains to be seen how useful teachers find the assessments in practice."

Mr Flanagan expressed concern, however, about potential breach of the guidelines on standardised assessment by local authorities: "Whilst there has been clear guidance from the Scottish Government that they do not expect entire cohorts of pupils to be tested at a fixed point of the year, for example, the EIS is deeply concerned that a number of local authorities have suggested they will implement a 'window' in which they expect all pupils to be assessed."

"This flies in the face of the intent of the programme, and is absolutely contrary to the guidance that has been issued by the Scottish Government on how the Standardised Assessments should be utilised based on teachers’ own professional judgement."

"Teachers were promised, also, that the new standardised assessments would replace existing testing regimes but not all councils have agreed to this. Potentially therefore there will be even more assessments in the system leading to increased workload and bureaucracy."

Mr Flanagan added, "The EIS is clear that we will oppose blanket use of these assessments at a set point, in any local authority. Local authorities retain responsibility for supporting a high-quality education experience for all young people – a role they are very eager to maintain following the ongoing Review of School Governance."

"It is essential that all local authorities demonstrate their commitment to young people’s learning, and that must include a commitment to utilise the new Standardised Assessments appropriately rather than seeking to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach by forcing all pupils to take the assessments at the same point of time."