MSPs and journalists were yesterday given a demonstration of the assessments which primary one children are given.

It is up to the teacher whether the assessments are given to pupils in a one-to-one situation, in small groups or whether the whole class takes them at the same time.

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In some cases a P7 “buddy” can help the P1 children with any IT questions they may have as they complete their work.

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The assessments are entirely computer-based, and can be done on a laptop, tablet or desktop computer. They do not assess writing skills or whether a child can write or spell his or her name.

They are introduced by a cartoon character named Alison, who guides pupils through the task. The pupil can either read the question or click on an icon allowing the question to be read aloud to them.

The introduction also explains how to drag icons around the screen and how to navigate on to the next question.

Many of the questions are multiple-choice. The questions begin at a very basic level. Pupils click or tap on the screen to choose an answer, or in some cases drag an icon into a box.The pupil is given no indication whether they have chosen the right answer or not. However, the test adapts itself based on how well they are doing, selecting easier questions if the pupil's struggling, or more difficult ones if they are performing well. Some more difficult questions see pupils analyse short sentences.

Questions in the literacy assessments range from simple tasks like distinguishing words from other symbols, to recognising rhyming words and analysing short sentences. Initial questions included choosing the word “big”. Some numeracy questions involve basic addition and subtraction as well as on-screen counting. Among the questions in this section were counting the number of balls on the screen, and choosing the biggest block and the biggest tree.