Information related to standardised assessments for primary 1 children: FOI release

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

FOI reference: FOI/18/02237  
Date received: 17 August 2018
Date responded: 14 September 2018
Information requested
(a) On what date did BBC Radio Scotland first contact the Scottish Government requesting that the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills appear on their phone in (as he did on 16 August 2018).
(b) Please provide a copy of all the correspondence and discussions, internal and external, relating to this appearance.

Please provide a copy of all the evidence that the Scottish Government has that there are "people who emphatically argue for P1 assessments", as stated by the Cabinet Secretary on 16 August 2018.

(a) Please provide a copy of the evidence cited by the Cabinet Secretary on 16 August 2018 that shows the standardised numeracy assessment takes on average 22 minutes for a P1 child to complete the test.
(b) What assessment has the Scottish Government made, or what evidence has it received, on the amount of time on average that the P1 tests take (i) P1 teachers and (ii) other primary school staff to administer? Please provide a copy of all the data the government has on this.
1. BBC Radio Scotland first contacted the Scottish Government on Wednesday 8 August 2018. While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because exemptions under section 38(1)(b) personal information, applies to that information. The reasons why this exemption applies are explained below.
Having considered all relevant information I have attached a pdf file with all available information included.

2. The approach to national standardised assessment was developed after extensive engagement with teachers, parents, children and academics. There is a wide ranging support for formative assessment amongst the teaching profession and there is extensive research highlighting the positive benefits of formative assessment. For example, Dylan William, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London, presents research that shows formative assessment practices have a much greater impact on educational achievement than most other reforms. W. James Popham has authored books, journals and research reports and explains the research supporting formative assessments. We have also drawn evidence from a range of advice and publications, including from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) – specifically their publication Synergies for Better Learning: An International Perspective on Evaluation and Assessment and Education Policy Outlook 2015.

The use of standardised assessment in Scotland is not new, the SNSAs build on current practice – 29 of the 32 local authorities were already using standardised assessments. This sustained practice over a significant number of years provided early diagnostic information to teachers to inform next steps in learning. The introduction of SNSA, aligned to Curriculum for Excellence and designed specifically for the Scottish educational context, has ensured consistency across Scotland. Extensive engagement with practitioners show that the SNSA is both welcomed and is an upgrade on previous standardised assessments. Working with Education Scotland, case studies are being produced to further support this.
3.Having considered all relevant information I have attached a pdf file of a 2017-18 Assessment Duration Report with all available information included. In addition, the Scottish Government has also received information relevant to this request that was gathered in a recent survey carried out by The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). This information is already in the public domain and can be viewed on the Scottish Government website via this link: /publications/foi-18-01829/. The feedback from this survey has provided detail which informed the Scottish National Standardised Assessments User Review Year 1 – Session 2017/18.
Reasons for not providing information
An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information requested – Information otherwise accessible. As this information is already in the public domain, we are not required to provide it.

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA (personal information) applies to a small amount of the information requested because it is personal data of a third party, ie names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Schedule 1 to the Data Protection Act 1998. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.
About FOI
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at
foi-18-02237 Assessment duration
foi-18-02237 Supporting documentation


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit 
Phone: 0300 244 4000 

The Scottish Government 
St Andrew's House 
Regent Road 

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