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Poll: Should primary school pupils have to sit national exams?

This poll is over 5 years old

Will national tests help close the attainment gap or lead to a nation of stressed out five-year-olds?

Should primary school pupils have to sit national exams?


We all have to sit exams and be rated alongside our peers at some point in our academic life but should we force this upon primary school pupils as young as five?

That’s the controversial plan the SNP wants to implement in Scotland’s schools.

As announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, while revealing her new cabinet, the Scottish Government’s central focus will be on improving Scotland’s education system.

With one of the biggest problems in Scotland’s schools often highlighted as being the growing attainment gap, the SNP has previously claimed re-introducing national tests, or ‘standardised tests’ as it prefers to call them, at primary schools will create a clearer picture at a national level making it easier to know how to close the gap.

The tests, which would see pupils in primaries one, four and seven – as well as in S3 at high school – sit the same exams across the country, will not, the SNP says, be used to form league tables ranking schools against one and another but critics are unsure.

They say if the data is out there local authorities and the media would simply create unofficial league tables putting even more pressure on teachers.

They also highlight the previous system of national testing was scrapped in 2003, partly due to fears that teachers were teaching pupils simply to pass exams rather than fully learn a subject.

And, reports in England, which uses national tests, also suggest young pupils are becoming so stressed by the exams that parents are now keeping their children off school and refusing to let them sit them.

What do you think? Should primary school children be made to sit national tests?

Click above to vote and let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Voting in this poll has now closed


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Carolyn Yates
over 5 years ago
As an e ousted inspector in England's schools I know ho unhelpful national tests are in a) rising teaching standards b) improving schools. If parents want an indication of how their child is improving in learning then formative assessment and better reporting procures are far more useful. If government want national dat to compare with other countries then keep HMI involved.