Recommendations for Standardised Assessments

Report by P1 teachers highlights areas for improvement. 

Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs) will be reformed as a result of feedback from Primary 1 teachers, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has announced.

The changes are a result of the P1 Practitioner Forum report, published today, which provides suggested areas for improvement. These include:

  • Stronger guidance to inform how teachers interact with, and support, children during the SNSA
  • Guidance on how the SNSA can be delivered in a way that is compatible with a play-based classroom environment
  • Implementation guidance and training which is available online, outside of the SNSA system, so that all educators can access it at a time that is convenient
  • A publicly available rationale setting out the possible uses and purposes of the SNSA within the broader assessment framework of Scottish schools ­– to ensure the assessments are not perceived as “high stakes”

The forum is independently chaired by Sue Ellis, Professor of Education at Strathclyde University. Primary 1 teachers make up the majority of the membership and the forum also includes representatives from stakeholder groups and academics.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“I would like to thank the P1 Practitioner Forum for their recommendations, which are grounded in the realities of teaching P1 and are informed by their own experiences and professional knowledge.

“We will work to make immediate improvements where we can to enhance the experience of both learners and educators and ensure the assessments can continue to be delivered as part of everyday learning and teaching.

“Standardised assessments are an effective additional tool to support teacher professional judgement and identify next steps in a child’s learning. They can be particularly useful in the early years if we are to continue to close the attainment gap, although they remain just one part of the range of evidence a teacher can call on when assessing whether a child has achieved the appropriate CfE (Curriculum for Excellence) level.”

Professor Ellis said: "It has been a pleasure to work with the Practitioner Forum and it is important that people listen carefully to what these imaginative and experienced P1 teachers have to say. 

“They offer plenty of good ideas about how to make the SNSAs work in practice and the report contains useful advice as well as recommendations for the future."

The report will also be presented at two events led by Professor Ellis, designed to enable practitioners to share their experiences of the SNSA. The events will take place on April 25 in Glasgow and April 29 in Aberdeen.


The P1 Practitioner Forum: Recommendations for Scottish National Standardised Assessments.

The establishment of a P1 Practitioner Forum was one of the recommendations of the Scottish Government’s 2017/18 Scottish National Standardised Assessment User Review report published in August 2018.

The decision to establish the forum was taken in advance of the separate decision to set up an independent review of P1 assessments led by David Reedy.


Media enquiries

Back to top