EIS Criticises Plans to Increase Spending on SNSAs

Created on: 18 Jan 2022 | Last modified: 18 Jan 2022

The EIS has strongly criticised the move by the Scottish Government to significantly scale up its spending on Scottish National Standardised Assessment (SNSAs) despite the OECD’s very clear advice that the assessments are of limited value.

The EIS has questioned, also, the judgement of the Scottish Government in awarding the contract for the next phase of the SNSAs to the company that was the architect of the SQA’s heavily discredited algorithm which was at the centre of the 2020 results debacle. The issue is due to be discussed at the Scottish Parliament Education Committee tomorrow.

Commenting, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “This decision by the Scottish Government to almost double spending on SNSAs from £10 million to £17 million over 5 years, at a time when it is claimed that budgets are otherwise strapped, and in light of the OECD’s expressed doubt about the utility of SNSAs and unequivocal advice that the Scottish Government should change its approach, is quite incomprehensible.” 

Mr Flanagan continued, “The decision is even more questionable given the very limited value of the SNSAs to teachers in assessing young people’s progress. In spite of the onerous nature of the SNSAs and their very limited educational worth, the expectation remains that teachers carry out the assessments when they have many other pressing priorities to manage, not least as a result of the pressures of safely delivering quality education in the context of the pandemic.”

He concluded, “That the new SNSA contract has been awarded to the Manchester-based company that worked alongside the SQA to create the disastrous algorithm which downgraded the results of thousands of students from working class backgrounds in 2020, is also a matter of deep concern.”