Scottish Assessment Summit: September 2019

Overview of the Scottish Assessment Summit held on 11 September 2019.

The 2017 to 2018 Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) User Review, published in August 2018, contained a commitment to holding an assessment summit as part of our response to the first year of the implementation of the SNSA. That commitment was reiterated in the 2019 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan.

The Scottish Assessment Summit was held at the University of Edinburgh, John McIntyre Conference Centre, Edinburgh on 11th September 2019.

The purpose of the summit was to reflect on approaches to assessment within the Broad General Education (BGE). Practitioners and academics held workshops and discussion sessions allowing delegates to share good practice in planning curriculum and assessment and consider how approaches could be strengthened further. Around 200 delegates, practitioners, headteachers, local authority staff and regional improvement collaborative leads attended.

The summit was chaired by Professor Sue Ellis from Strathclyde University and there were  keynote addresses by: 

  • John Swinney, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills
  • Graeme Logan, Director of Learning, Scottish Government
  • Dr Carol Campbell from Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, who is also a member of the International Council of Education Advisers

The event ended with an open Q and A session.  Members of the panel were:

  • Graeme Logan
  • Gayle Gorman, Chief Inspector of Education and Education Scotland Chief Executive
  • Dr Carol Campbell
  • Professor Geoff Masters, Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research

You can listen to voice recordings of the keynote addresses and the Q and A session here:

You can also view the presentation slides, where available, on this page.

Various workshops took place throughout the day, led by practitioners, academics, Education Scotland and Scottish Government staff.  The workshops gave delegates the opportunity to hear examples of good practice, share experiences and consider and reflect on approaches to assessment.  A brief overview of the workshops and copies of the slides presented are provided below.

Workshop 1 Refreshed narrative on Scotland's curriculum
Led by

Jenny Watson, Education Scotland

Malcolm Pentland, Scottish Government

Brief description

The Curriculum and Assessment Board has recently overseen work to refresh the narrative on CfE and set it within the current context of Scottish education.

This seminar will  provide participants with the opportunity to have a preview of the refreshed narrative.

Aims of the workshop
  • to preview the refreshed narrative
  • to share the rationale, the purpose and key messages 
  • to pilot tools being developed to support the refreshed narrative
  • to help shape the strategic plan to engage practitioners during the deployment period


Workshop 2 QAMSO assessment and moderation 
Led by Paul Morgan, Education Scotland
Brief description

Presentation on how effective practice in assessment and moderation at all levels is being embedded.

Evaluating current practice in assessment and moderation and exploring next steps to ensure consistency.

Aims of workshop
  • to outline key features of effective practice in assessment and moderation
  • to consider how we ensure validity, reliability and consistency throughout the moderation process
  • to provide information on the Regional and National Moderation Programme for 2019/20 
  • to identify support available to ensure continuous improvement in practice  
  • to reflect and consider next steps in moderation


Workshop 3 The BGE benchmarking tool and data informed improvement
Led by

Jill Pringle, South Lanarkshire

Elaine Fitzpatrick, headteacher, St Mary's Primary in Hamilton

Martin Hendry, headteacher, St Cuthbert's Primary School

Brief description This workshop will focus on how the BGE benchmarking tool is being used to support collaboration and improvement.
Aims of workshop
  • provide an overview of the place of the BGE tool within the National Improvement Framework and its role in supporting data informed improvement
  • provide an insight into the scope of the BGE benchmarking tool and the characteristics that underpin it 
  • provide an insight into how this tool was rolled out within one local authority
  • share the experiences of head teachers in using the tool to support improvement planning


Workshop 4 Using insight to inform improvement through data intelligence
Led by Lewis Paterson, Scottish Government

Aims of workshop

  • to challenge users to consider how effectively they use insight data to inform their improvement journey – sharing with the audience my journey from a “harvester of numbers” to developing a greater awareness of what the data is actually indicating. From asking, and answering, the same questions year on year, to knowing the right questions to ask of, and about, the insight data
  • to demonstrate how improvement messages can be surfaced through a case study analysis of one school’s “Attainment for All” data [note this will include exploration of the Grade Neutral Tariff measure] - using live school data to demonstrate to the audience how they can go beyond the “accountability” measures of Insight and move into “data intelligence”; unpicking the data and identifying the improvement messages that lie below the headline measures. Through analysis, supported by the data, I will encourage the audience to ask themselves challenge questions about some of the key drivers for raising attainment – the consistency of the quality of learning and teaching across their establishment(s), the availability of different curriculum pathways that can allow all learners to achieve and how the quality of the Broad General Education prepares learners for success in the Senior Phase 


Workshop 5 Using SNSA data for individual learners and school improvement
Led by

Jaqueline Blair, headteacher, Tarbolton Primary School, South Ayrshire

David Leng, Scottish Government

Brief description As part of a whole school  assessment model, consider how the SNSA supports learner development, teacher judgement and school improvement.
Aims of workshop

Clearly defining the purpose of the SNSA within a whole school assessment model.

In particular how the SNSA can:

  • be delivered within a play based early years pedagogy
  • supporting individual learner progress
  • help build teacher confidence 
  • be used as part of school improvement planning


Workshop 6 Cluster assessment tool
Led by

Amanda Hamilton, local authority representative

Roddy Graham, practitioner

Christine Jones, practitioner

Brief description Sharing practice on cluster moderation, based on the national QAMSO training programme
Aims of workshop
  • to share a cluster approach to assessment and moderation
  • to highlight how QAMSOs can lead cluster developments
  • to explain the cluster model for moderation and how it was developed by QAMSOs
  • local authority support for cluster collaboration


Workshop 7 Response to P1 SNSA: practical support materials and staff development
Led by

Professor Sue Ellis

Primary practitioners

Brief description Responding to the P1 SNSA. 
This workshop is for all participants. It will outline practical staff development and support materials for early level literacy
Aims of workshop The P1 practitioner forum advised the development of practical advice on using the SNSA
  • this workshop will examine draft materials designed to support P1 practitioners
  • the materials emphasise authentic, ‘low-stakes’ activities, with a balance of child-initiated, teacher-led and teacher mediated activities
Assessment summit: Graeme Logan presentation
Assessment summit: Dr Carol Campbell presentation
Workshop 1: refreshed narrative on Scotland's curriculum
Workshop 2: QAMSO assessment and moderation
Workshop 3: BGE benchmarking tool
Workshop 4: insight presentation
Workshop 5: SNSA presentation
Workshop 6: cluster assessment presentation
Workshop 7: SNSA in P1 presentation


If you have any questions or comments you wish to raise about the Assessment Summit please direct them to the National Improvement Framework Team via

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