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Steps to reduce poverty-related attainment gap welcome, but concern over measurement of change

We have responded to the Scottish Government consultation on the measurement framework of the National Improvement Framework, voicing support for the aims but warning of concerns about assessment.

While supportive of the Scottish Government in its efforts to remove the poverty-related attainment gap, we remain sceptical about the proposed role of standardised assessments to measure the gap.

Key messages included in the response, submitted on Monday 20 November, include:

  • Calls for the means suggested for measuring the gap to be wider than currently proposed, recognising the role that diverse factors, including poverty, play in attainment
  • Support for the inclusion of measures at early years, but concern about the lack of clarity over the method of testing proposed, and their appropriateness for this age group
  • Concern about the age-appropriateness of the plans to measure health and wellbeing
  • Support for the use of sampling data, but a reiteration of our strong opposition to league tables.

One area where we noted particular lack of activity was regarding input from children and young people themselves.

Our Head of Policy, Projects & Participation, Amy Woodhouse, said:

“Children and young people need to be given far more opportunity to feed into the National Improvement Framework to embed their views further within Scottish education.”

“The framework does not recognise specific barriers that some pupils face, such as care experience or additional support needs. Children and young people with additional support needs experience particular attainment challenges, so specific sub-measures in these areas would be useful.”

We also called on the Scottish Government to ensure appropriate and increased resources to implement the National Improvement Frameworks, particularly given the ambition of the targets laid out in the consultation.

At present we have concerns over whether this is achievable in the timeframe outlined.

Read the full response

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