Holyrood committee launches inquiry into national testing in schools

(Rui Vieira / PA).

MSPs are to examine how national testing can help close the attainment gap in Scotland’s schools.

Members of the Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee are to carry out their own inquiry into the assessments, which have been introduced by the Scottish Government.

Under the new system, pupils are assessed in P1, P4, P7 and S3 – but the inclusion of four and five-years-olds has sparked controversy, with some teachers claiming youngsters have been reduced to tears by the tests.

Education Secretary John Swinney last month announced an independent review of testing for P1 pupils, after Holyrood voted against including these youngsters in the programme.

At the time he pledged this review would be “led by the evidence” and could conclude the testing regime should be reformed or scrapped altogether.

But convener Clare Adamson stressed the Education Committee’s inquiry “is not looking to duplicate work the Scottish Government has announced, which will focus only on P1 assessments”.

She said: “Instead, this inquiry will be an open and transparent look at the evidence base for using standardised assessments across primary and secondary schools.

“We want to find out what role these play in Scotland’s schools. And, more importantly, how these will help to improve the educational outcomes for young people across the country.”

As part of the inquiry MSPs will consider the approach taken in other countries. They will also seek to establish what information is provided by the standardised national assessments and how this can help close the attainment gap in schools

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