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Commission on School Reform – Response to the Government’s National Improvement Framework

The Commission on School Reform, established by leading think tanks Reform Scotland and the CSPP, has said  that the Scottish Government’s proposed National Standardised Assessment requires to be redefined and enhanced if it is to prove a useful tool in improving Scotland’s educational performance.

The Commission says that the proposed national standardised test will provide valuable information on how the system is progressing but:

  • the narrowness of the proposed national assessment, which tests only literacy and numeracy and not other areas such as sciences and languages, could endanger the broad, liberal education envisaged by Curriculum for Excellence
  • its value will be largely confined to monitoring progress at national or local authority level because it will be of negligible diagnostic value at pupil or school level, being  too short, too narrow and too infrequent
  • the outcome could be the unhelpful practice of ‘teaching to the test’ to improve league table standings, and excluding the data from Freedom of Information legislation should be considered
  • rather than being used at a micro level the data should be used to gather local authority and national results in order to improve performance by international standards