Statistics on pupils’ skills ‘cannot be relied upon’

Dec 11, 2017 by

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Andrew Denholm –

THE national performance of Scotland’s primary pupils in literacy and numeracy cannot currently be measured in a credible way, according to experts.

The warning came after the Scottish Government confirmed the latest set of national statistics on basic skills, to be published this week, will be “experimental”.

Statistics are labelled “experimental” when they are still subject to testing and will only lose that description when they become useful and credible.

The Scottish Government has already scrapped the only alternative to the figures, the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN).

Keir Bloomer, chairman of a commission on school reform set up by the Reform Scotland think-tank, said ministers had created a vacuum of school information.

He said: “The fact that these statistics are experimental is basically an admission that thus far these have been a failure.

“Last year’s figures revealed huge inconsistencies in teacher judgments in different areas and a general degree of over-optimism.

“We have now got nothing that replaces the data from the SSLN and I cannot see these teacher judgments improving very much so we are left without a proper measure of performance for the foreseeable future.”

Political opponents also criticised the Government for removing the SSLN, with Liz Smith, education spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservative Party, calling for better measures of performance.

She said: “Every educational expert in the land is telling the Scottish Government Scotland needs to improve both the quantity and quality of the data set which can measure progress in our schools.

“The SNP has already removed Scotland from some key international indicators and with the decision to end the SSLN it is even more vital that we have good quality, accurate data.”

Iain Gray, education spokesman for the Scottish Labour Party, said: “Once again we have only experimental information about attainment in schools.

Source: Statistics on pupils’ skills ‘cannot be relied upon’ | HeraldScotland

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