On 1st September 2015 Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for National Standardised Testing of pupils in order to yield crucial data to help `reduce the attainment gap`. This was despite the fact that such an idea was incompatible with the philosophy of Curriculum for Excellence.
"Teaching unions such as the EIS explicitly stated that `the introduction of a national system of standardised assessment is not the answer" to educational inequality`."
"And of course it soon became clear that Sturgeon’s plans were not rooted in any substantial evidence or advice, with FOI releases showing that the standardised testing policy had been based on just four emails and a series of unminuted meetings."
"[L]et’s not forget, we will still be faced with a scenario where a private company is able to profit from the inappropriate testing of children as young as five years old."
"Speaking at the EIS AGM in Dundee, Mr Swinney said the Scottish Government would issue a tender later this week to buy an online system from an expert provider that would conduct the assessments contained within the new National Improvement Framework."
"The online system will be in place for the 2017/18 session and use the latest technology to ensure pupil’s progress in P1, P4, P7 and S3 is easily measured by teachers without adding to their burden by asking them to mark the new assessments..."
"The system will quickly and automatically generate individual reports for teachers, providing information on where a child has done well and highlighting areas where support may be required. This report will be used for discussion with parents about their child’s learning, along with other assessment evidence..."
" `Assessments will be as short as possible and your professional judgement will be key`... "
"`In one of my first interviews as Education Secretary, I was asked whether the assessments will be internally or externally marked. I wasn’t ready to give an answer then. I am now`."
"`My answer is this: that’s the wrong question and it fundamentally misunderstands what we are doing`."
"`You all know – because schools already use these systems – that assessment can be delivered using modern technology that provides the results automatically. No additional workload – no high-stakes, externally marked tests. It’s not internal or external. It’s automatic`."
"EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan, has used his AGM address to urge Scotland’s teachers to stand together to reject the overburdening of pupils and teachers with excessive assessment..."
"Mr Flanagan also warned that the introduction of the new National Improvement Framework, and new National Standardised Assessments, must support learning and teaching in schools and not be used to promote a target-setting, league-table approach to measuring pupil progress."
Compare with Finland: