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Created: 26 May 2016 | Last Updated: 26 May 2016 | Printer Friendly Version Printer Friendly Version | Make Text Smaller Make Text Larger |

Commitment on Assessment Workload is Welcome - But Doesn't go Far Enough

26 May 2016
The EIS has welcomed today’s statement by Education Secretary John Swinney on the need to streamline SQA assessment procedures – but also warned that the measures outlined today will not go far enough nor quickly enough to reduce the excessive assessment burden on pupils and teachers.      
Commenting on the announcement, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "The EIS welcomes the fact that the new Cabinet Secretary has committed to reducing the burden that current SQA procedures are placing on pupils and teachers. 
"We also welcome that the long-awaited report of the Ministerial Review Group on Assessment and National Qualifications, which was due to be published by the end of March, has finally been placed in the public domain. 
"However, this Review was intended to deliver a streamlined assessment process for the next school year, so the delayed publication of the Report has come too late to deliver on this commitment. 
"The identification and removal of unnecessary duplication in assessment was originally promised in August 2014, and now we are told it won’t be delivered until 2017 or 2018.”
Mr Flanagan continued, "While the EIS was encouraged by the general tone of Mr Swinney’s announcement, we continue to believe that much more needs to be done to streamline SQA requirements and lighten the excessive assessment load that continues to be piled onto teachers and pupils. 
"It is encouraging that the Cabinet Secretary has held early talks with the SQA to highlight the need to reduce its bureaucratic requirements – it is less encouraging that no firm steps were agreed, other than those already included in the Review Group Report which is, in itself, not a satisfactory solution to the problem of heavy SQA-related workload for pupils and teachers. 
"The EIS has submitted concrete proposals for change, which could be acted upon immediately, but these seem to have been ruled out completely in discussions with the SQA.”
Mr Flanagan added, "Earlier this week, the EIS opened a statutory industrial action ballot for Secondary teachers in relation to the excessive assessment requirements of National Qualifications. 
"While we welcome today’s announcement as a step in the right direction, our ballot process will continue and the EIS is continuing to call on teachers to vote for industrial action. 
"Of course, we remain willing to engage in discussions with the Cabinet Secretary and the SQA to agree further measures to reduce assessment-related workload in the hope that industrial action can be averted."