Testing times

Against international evidence about its negative effect, the Scottish government has introduced testing throughout the education system, beginning at Primary 1. Sue Palmer sets ministers their own test

May 11, 2018

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Sue Palmer is chair of Upstart Scotland, a charity campaigning for the introduction of a play-based kinder garten stage for all four to seven-year-old children in Scotland. They cite international research showing that children under the age of seven benefit from an educational approach that supports their all-round physical, emotional, social and cognitive development, rather than pushing them towards early academic achievement.

This year, the government has introduced standardised tests of literacy and numeracy, beginning at Primary 1 when children are four or five years old. Upstart believes assessment is an essential part of early years’ teaching, but object to the use of national standardised tests of literacy and numeracy skills at too early a stage in children’s education, and invite politicians and civil servants to complete this test in full.

Scottish Government Test
Please answer all questions by clicking the relevant box

  • There is currently considerable interest across Scotland in the evidence that Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) – such as violence, neglect and abuse – have adverse long-term results, including lower educational attainment, mid-life health issues and problems with relationships, and lower life expectancy. Several long-term studies, such as The Longevity Project and the High/Scope Perry Project have indicated that an early start on formal learning is probably an ACE.

So far, all the government ministers and civil servants who’ve sat this test ticked box (B) every time. Upstart has therefore started a ‘Play Not Tests in Primary 1’ campaign, to spread the word to parents about the (A) answers. If you agree, please join Upstart Scotland http://www.upstart.scot/downloads/ (it’s free!) and help us fight for the best possible start to every Scottish child’s educational career.




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