Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesman Liam McArthur MSP today warned that the SNP appear all at sea over national standardised testing in schools.
The claim followed the Education Secretary’s evidence to the Education Committee today, during which she suggested that Ministers would seek to force Councils to end existing local school testing arrangements with no clarity over what will replace them.
Angela Constance told Holyrood’s education committee that MSPs would be asked to support a new testing model as part of a National Improvement Framework (NIF) before details of the NIF are made available at some point in the New Year.
During her evidence, Mr Constance told Mr McArthur that the new testing framework would replace current arrangements in local authorities, despite accepting that many of these work extremely well, but went on to say that further details on the new national tests would not be on the face of the SNP’s Education (Scotland) Bill.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“The Education Secretary seems all at sea over these reforms. She expects MSPs to vote for major changes to our education system and for national testing without letting us see the detail of what the SNP propose.
“Ms Constance accepts that current assessment and testing of pupils works well across the country, yet still insists on using this ‘one size fits all’ approach to get local Councils to conform. She insists that her plans will improve consistency, but can’t tell parliament what schools or local authorities are to be consistent with.
“At the hearing today we were told by the teachers union that there are strong educational arguments against using the ‘blunt instrument’ of high stakes, standardised testing. We also heard further warnings that the new system would allow school league tables by the back door. Pupils, parents and teachers alike deserve better from the Scottish Government."