Primary 1 standardised assessments ‘should continue’

Assessments can help inform teachers’ professional judgements.

Standardised assessments in Primary 1 should continue, an independent review has concluded.

Led by literacy expert David Reedy, the review was commissioned to take an objective look at the evidence and provide independent, educational advice to Ministers about the future of Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA).  

The review finds that assessments can play a role in informing teachers’ professional judgements and recommends safeguards should be introduced to avoid comparisons at a school or local authority level.

School children in P1, P4, P7 and S3 complete online standardised assessments in literacy and numeracy as part of their everyday learning and teaching. The SNSA are designed to help identify each young person’s progress and provide diagnostic information to help teachers plan next steps in their learning.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney updated Parliament to confirm that the Scottish Government accepts all of the independent review’s recommendations, including:

  • the continuation of standardised assessments in P1
  • the Scottish Government working with local authorities, schools and other stakeholders to develop a code of practice which provides a detailed rationale for P1 assessments, setting out their purpose and use
  • continued improved guidance, training and support for teachers about how to implement the assessments and use the data collected

Mr Swinney said:

“I made it clear that I would reconsider the evidence surrounding P1 assessments but that any review would be based on educational advice to ensure an accurate and informed decision about their future.

“The review has now concluded that the assessments should continue, that they can play a significant role in informing and enhancing teachers’ professional judgement - the very reason these assessments were introduced - and that there is scant evidence of children becoming upset when taking part.

“I do not suggest the review has delivered an unqualified green light to the Scottish Government in terms of P1 assessments, clearly it makes important recommendations about improvement and I am determined to take the valuable learning within the report and act upon it.

“I hope that colleagues from across the chamber will join me in accepting Mr Reedy’s findings and in focusing, as we must, on delivering an education system in Scotland which raises attainment for all, closes the attainment gap, and enables all children and young people to fulfil their potential.”


The Deputy First Minister announced the independent review into the use of SNSA during a statement to Parliament in October 2018.

A number of associated documents about the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) were also published.

  • Independent Review of the Scottish National Standardised Assessments at Primary 1
  • Scottish Government response to the Independent Review
  • Scottish Government response to the P1 Practitioner Forum’s report
  • Scottish Government response to the Education and Skills Committee’s inquiry into the SNSAs
  • Progress report on the 2018/19 user review
  • Standardised Assessments in Scotland: Draft Improvement Activity 2019/20


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