THE Education Secretary has announced changes to assessments for primary one pupils after a campaign was launched to boycott them.

In an open letter to parents of P1 children, John Swinney said he had listened to feedback and had agreed “enhancements” to the assessments in order to “provide extra reassurance”.

The changes include the replacement of some questions with alternatives of a similar difficulty, while others will be redesigned or reordered.

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An improvement forum is to be set up to look at all aspects of the P1 assessment experience, while hints and tips on effective classroom management will be shared with teachers.

A Scottish Government review of the first year of standardised assessments concluded the questions were “stage appropriate” and said there were no plans to change the range of difficulty of the questions at P1 level.

It was published alongside more feedback from teachers’ union, the Educational Institute of Scotland which highlighted continuing concerns about the amount of time and manpower required at P1 level.

The literacy and numeracy tests were introduced for pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3 with the aim of helping teachers judge progress on a child’s learning.

The review concluded the first year “has been a success on a number of levels”, highlighting positive feedback particularly on the P4, P7 and S3 tests.

Swinney said: “Our review found that children generally rated the assessments as accessible and stimulating, while teachers were pleased with the information provided by the assessments.

“I have listened to the range of feedback and changes this year should further improve the experience for learners and provide extra reassurance to teachers and parents.

“While primary one questions were deemed to be at an appropriate level of difficulty, many will be refreshed so that they provide a more familiar context for children.”

He reiterated the assessments were to be delivered “as part of everyday learning and teaching” and were not “high stakes”, with no pass or fail and no time limit. He also pointed out in his letter to parents that “the model of assessment is not new”.

He added: “The majority of local authorities have been carrying out a form of standardised assessment in P1 for many years.

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“The SNSA [Scottish National Standardised Assessments] for the first time brings consistency across Scotland.”

The Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) said the move would “do little to allay the very serious concerns held by many teachers”.

Earlier this month a campaign was launched against the assessments in which Upstart Scotland said it would distribute 30,000 postcards to parents asking them to withdraw their children from the tests.