Independent review of Primary 1 assessments

Deputy First Minister tells Parliament he will reconsider evidence.

An independent review into the use of standardised assessments for Primary 1 (P1) children has been announced by Deputy First Minister John Swinney.

He made the announcement during a statement to parliament which also confirmed Scottish Government advice remains clear that local authorities should not set specific windows for schools to undertake assessments.

The review will consider and provide recommendations on:

  • the compatibility of the assessments with the play based approach to early levels of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE)
  • the usefulness of the diagnostic information provided to teachers and how it supports their professional judgement
  • the future of the assessments, in particular whether they continue in line with the current continuous improvement model, whether they should be substantially modified or whether they should be stopped.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The primary purpose of standardised assessments is to provide an effective additional tool to support teacher professional judgement and provide consistent evidence to identify next steps in a child’s learning.

“This information can be particularly useful in the early years if we are to continue to close the attainment gap, although it remains just one part of the range of evidence a teacher can call on when assessing whether a child has achieved the appropriate CfE level.

“I have listened to a range of views from within the profession and those charged with delivering education. Indeed ADES have confirmed that no Directors of Education have raised any significant concerns by parents.

“It is important to further evaluate how the assessments are working which is why I have decided to commission an independent review of P1 assessments to reconsider the evidence.

“While an independent, evidence-based review could conclude that P1 assessment should be reformed, the review could also recommend a halt to the assessments.”


The Deputy First Minister’s full statement is available here.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education will provide advice on who should carry out this independent analysis in due course.

The review will be asked to provide conclusions and recommendations by the end of May 2019 to allow time for Parliament to debate them thoroughly.


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