The EIS has welcomed the decision by Fife Council to scrap the use of Scottish National Standardised Assessment (SNSAs) at Primary 1, but warned that the Council’s intended replacement may be even more damaging.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "While we welcome Fife Council's decision to scrap SNSAs for P1, this should not be at the cost of a return to Fife's previous system of over-using other forms of standardised assessments - every year and with all age groups."

"If the Council is serious about ensuring that all assessment genuinely supports learning and is committed to relieving the pressure that standardised assessment places on pupils, they should not be replacing SNSAs with a model that is potentially more damaging."

Mr Flanagan continued, "Scotland's teachers have expressed a range of concerns over SNSAs, and have questioned both their educational value and their compatibility with the ethos of Curriculum for Excellence. The EIS continues to highlight our members' concerns directly with the Scottish Government."

"However, what is being proposed in Fife is a return to the authority's previous SATS style of testing, which is even less compatible with CfE and is entirely inappropriate at P1 Early Level where children are supposed to experience a play-based curriculum, with activities designed to progress their learning through play. There is a large body of evidence of the benefits of children learning through carefully designed play-based activities - which SNSAs threaten."

Mr Flanagan added, "It seems that this decision has been taken in Fife on a political basis, rather than on educational grounds. Replacing SNSAs with a more damaging form of standardised assessment does not bring any educational benefit for pupils."

"This type of party-politicking on such an important issue is unhelpful and adds nothing to the broader educational debate on the value, or lack of value, of Standardised Assessments as a tool to support learning and teaching."