Scotland politics

John Swinney says he has no plans for pupils to sit hour-long tests

Pupil writing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Scottish government wants to introduce testing for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3

Primary pupils in Scotland will not have to sit hour-long tests under plans for standardised national assessments, the new education secretary pledged.

John Swinney was speaking after being appointed to his new brief in Nicola Sturgeon's cabinet reshuffle.

The Scottish government is to introduce standardised national assessments for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3.

The former finance minister said he had no intention to return to "stressful testing" in Scotland's schools.

The National Parent Forum of Scotland had expressed concern children as young as five could face excessively long tests which could put too much pressure on pupils.

Forum chairman Iain Ellis told The Herald newspaper: "Our original understanding was that pupils would sit one short test reflecting different skills over a period of about 20 minutes and that the results of that test would be used to support the judgement of the teacher as to the level the pupil had achieved.

"What we are now seeing is that these tests are numerous and lasting up to an hour each, and that would put far too much pressure and stress on the individual pupils, particularly those in the first year of primary, but also those in secondary who would already be preparing for national qualifications."

'No wish to return to stressful testing'

Tests on reading, writing and numeracy are to be piloted later this year ahead of them being brought in across Scotland in 2017

Mr Swinney said: "No child at primary school will sit an hour-long test. Ministers have no wish to return to stressful testing in Scotland's schools for our children.

"We are introducing assessments, which will be age appropriate, and will allow teachers to tailor learning for each individual child.

"Nearly all schools in Scotland are already using standardised assessments - our plan is to replace these with assessments aligned to Curriculum for Excellence."

More on this story