Testing times for politicians, teachers and pupils if plans get green light

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I suppose it’s a waste of time to ask why Colin Hamilton and Carole Ford (Letters 8 January) insist on perpetuating the myth that the only plank of the Scottish government’s education strategy is to introduce a form of national testing. Both fulminate at length about the attainment gap and what resources will be needed to help to close it. Both choose to ignore the existence of the £100 million which has been allocated by the government to help achieve that very goal.

Fortunately we can take some comfort from the fact the current incumbents of the various educational organisations and institutions such as School Leaders Scotland are in dialogue with the Scottish government on the best way to take the educational curriculum forward.

Douglas Turner

Derby Street, Edinburgh

I do not follow the logic of Nicola Sturgeon in claiming that publishing the percentage of pupils in each school that reach required standards in literacy and numeracy instead of publishing raw statistics will prevent a return to crude league tables (Scotsman 7 January). Surely that is producing ready-made league tables. We already know that schools in affluent areas will score highly and be classified as “good” schools, while those in areas of multiple deprivation will get low scores and be written off as “failing” schools. I pity the latter group who are on a hiding to nothing, because the national tests will take no account of the fantastic work they do in dealing with social problems which are at the root of most educational under-performance.

As usual, the politicians are tackling the attainment gap from the wrong end. They seem to forget that overall scores are made up of the accumulated results of individual pupils, and it is on improving the performance of individual pupils (the ablest as well as the least able) that the Scottish Government should be concentrating.

They should be listening to the teachers who face this difficult task of helping individual pupils instead of imposing their own poorly thought-out “solutions”.

Henry L Philip

Grange Loan, Edinburgh

Probably the last thing that Scottish teachers need at this point in time is more testing of kids in our schools as proposed this week by the SNP administration.

Teachers in Scotland are working long hours well in excess of contract to keep up with the introduction of the curriculum for excellence scheme and this is reflected in the increased turnover of teachers and difficulties in recruiting teachers in many areas.

Introduction of yet another test in reading writing and numeracy may well highlight the growing gap in attainment between rich and poor kids as the current SNP education policy fails to achieve targets.

Dennis Forbes Grattan

Mugiemoss Road, Aberdeen

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