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Publication - FOI/EIR release

New standardised testing system introduced in Scottish schools: FOI review

Published: 4 Jun 2018

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
4 Jun 2018
New standardised testing system introduced in Scottish schools: FOI review

FOI reference: FOI/17/02015
Date received: 5 October 2017
Date responded: 1 November 2017

Information requested

The following information regarding the new standardised testing system introduced in Scottish schools:

1. What data will the Scottish Government receive from the test provider and when will this information be received? (NB: In July 2016 a Scottish Government official confirmed to me that: The Scottish Government will have the ability to receive, from the assessment provider, a full dataset of the results of the assessments at pupil level for each school year. The Scottish Government will use any information gathered through the National Improvement Framework for improvement purposes.)

2. Any Scottish Government communication or documentation - both internal and external - related to the central gathering of standardised test data.

To be clear, I am not seeking confirmation that the government will receive 'teacher judgement' data, based partly on standardised testing information, from schools or local authorities - my request relates specifically to the provision of test data from the test provider to the Scottish government (as referenced in question 1).

Response

I have now completed my review of our response to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA) for information relating to the standardised assessment data.

I have concluded that the original decision should be confirmed, with modifications as below.

I accept that the original response could have provided more clarity by what is meant by 'national level data', and further information has been provided below. Additionally, having reviewed the additional documentation provided to you, I have found that, while the exemptions were correctly applied to much of the information for the reasons set out in Maria Harris' letter of 28 September 2017, there were some areas in which the exemptions were unnecessarily applied. Accordingly, I enclose at a revised copy of the documentation, though the exemptions under sections 29(1)(a) and 38(1)(b) still apply to some of the information requested, for the reasons provided in the Annex to the original response.

With respect to the definition of 'national level data', the exact terms of the national level standardised assessment data that the Scottish Government will receive is still under discussion with the service provider. However, our expectation is that the provider will provide a report containing anonymised, national level data broken down by a range of characteristics such as SIMD, gender and looked after status – it will not include any school or local authority level data. This will give a broad indication of the progress that children and young people across Scotland have made in specific elements of numeracy and literacy at P1, P4, P7 and S3. This is in keeping with the adaptive design of the Scottish National Standardised Assessment as a diagnostic tool rather than providing a pass/fail mark or an overall score. This data will help us identify emerging themes and issues at a national level, such as lack of progress in a particular element of learning and will allow us to target national improvement activity where there are particular issues.

I hope you find this helpful.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference

Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG