As we recognise the 50th anniversary of comprehensive education, our latest special report focuses on the Scottish Government's position on National Testing in education. 

This report adds significant weight to the increasing opposition to the Scottish Government’s plans for a system of National Standardised Testing (NST). It finds that NST is not supported by international evidence, is incompatible with Curriculum for Excellence and will almost certainly result in a range of damaging unintended consequences such as school league tables and the further entrenchment of educational inequality in Scotland.


With both the EIS and the SSTA unions publicly opposed to the implementation of NST and concerns raised by teachers, school leaders, parents groups and academics it is clear that, far from reducing the ‘attainment gap’, the current plans risk making things much worse for our nation’s poorest children.

Despite the progressive language, these proposals are in reality a throwback to the rejected Thatcherite education policies of the 1990s - policies which failed then and will fail now. The generation of standardised data for the purpose of national comparisons may well suit politicians and their advisers but it will not improve the educational experiences of Scotland’s children.

Fortunately, there is still time to think again. The government has already set a precedent for this sort of action by abandoning flawed plans for a women’s super-prison to replace Cornton Vale; on this occasion they should follow their own example by having the courage to change course.

RISE urges the Scottish Government to place their trust in the teaching profession and abandon plans for a regressive and deeply damaging system of National Standardised Testing.