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Assessing children's progress

Published: 25 Nov 2016 12:03
Part of:
Education

Information for parents and teachers.

More information about how children’s progress will be assessed at school is being made available for teachers and parents.

From August 2017, new national standardised assessments are being introduced as part of the National Improvement Framework, to help teachers judge how well children are doing and plan next steps in their learning.

Leaflets explaining how the arrangements will work in practice have been published on the Scottish Government website.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has also confirmed that the national standardised assessments will be developed and delivered by ACER International UK Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), a not-for-profit organisation with 85 years of experience in educational research.

Mr Swinney said:

“Teachers are best placed to make judgements about how children are doing in school and draw on a wide range of information – from both formal and informal assessments - to help them form a view.

“The new national standardised assessments being rolled out next summer should replace the various standardised assessments local authorities currently buy-in and will be designed to be as straightforward as possible for teachers and children alike.

“These are not high stakes tests: there will be no ‘pass or fail’ and no additional workload for children or teachers. Instead, the online system being developed on our behalf by international experts the Australian Council for Educational Research will be intuitive to use, take into account the abilities of individual children, and quickly and automatically generate individual feedback for teachers.

“The standardised assessments will be an important tool for teachers, who will have an additional source of nationally consistent evidence about how well pupils are progressing. They will be able to draw on this alongside other assessment information to help inform their professional judgement, which is how we evaluate whether children have achieved the relevant Curriculum for Excellence levels for their stage.”

The leaflets for parents and teachers can be accessed via: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Education/Schools/NationalImprovementFramework/NatonalImprovementFramework

Every child in P1, P4, P7 and S3 will undertake national standardised assessments covering aspects of reading, writing and working with numbers over the course of the school year.

Assessments will be completed online and will be automatically marked by the online system, giving teachers immediate feedback to help children progress.

The system will be designed so that if a child is struggling with the questions they will get easier, and if a child is doing well the questions will become more challenging.

The standardised assessments will be as short as possible and will be age and stage appropriate. A time limit of 50 minutes for each assessment has been set. This is an absolute maximum and we do not expect the majority of children to require this amount of time. 

The assessments will be used to help teachers understand how children are progressing with their learning and to plan next steps. Children do not need to prepare or revise.

There will be no set day or period of time when the national standardised assessments must be taken. Individual teachers and schools will decide the most appropriate time during the school year for children to take the standardised assessments. The assessments will, as far as possible, accommodate the needs of children who require additional support.

The national standardised assessments will be developed and delivered by ACER International UK Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), a not-for-profit organisation with 85 years of experience in educational research. ACER has extensive experience of delivering large-scale online assessments similar to those they will deliver in Scotland. ACER currently provides online assessments in more than 80 countries. ACER International UK was appointed following a comprehensive procurement exercise.