Standardised Assessments are those which use a method built on the principle of consistency. As such, all learners answer the same questions in the same way and are then scored in a standard or consistent way. This allows comparisons of individual or groups of learners. Standardised assessments are typically produced by those external to the establishment. Standardised Assessments used in your local authority may include Mathematics assessment for Learning and Teaching (MaLT), Progress in Reading Assessment (PiRA), New Group Reading Test (NGRT), National Standardised Assessments (NSAs) including both Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) and Measaidhean Coitcheann Nàiseanta airson Foghlam tron Ghàidhlig (MCNGs) and others. Each local authority may have a different approach to the use of particular standardised assessments.
Standardised assessments are best used when they are applied to identify strengths, areas for development and next steps for learners. Standardised assessments should not be used in isolation to evidence achievement of a level. A range of assessment evidence is necessary for this.
In schools, standardised assessments typically assess aspects of literacy or numeracy. Some will assess a range of experiences and outcomes across literacy or numeracy organisers, and some focus on one particular area such as reading or writing.
Standardised assessments can provide insight into the progress of learners or groups of learners. Standardised assessments can be used to compliment other assessment data, ensure consistency across the curriculum and track progress or attainment over time. It is important to note standardised assessments are not more important than professional judgement, and if one assessment provides data that is inconsistent with other findings it does not take away from professional judgements made across the year.
Individual local authorities will have their own approach to when standardised assessments are to be completed. Ideally, an establishment will use this and produce an assessment framework identifying which assessments learners in any group will undertake across the year and across their time at school.
Standardised assessments are useful tools to track progress, identify strengths of learners, identify what is working well, and can help to plan for next steps in learning. The best practice for standardised assessments is when they are used diagnostically. The involvement of the practitioner at this analysis stage is crucial for learning and teaching. Analysis can be done in two ways; firstly by looking at the learners individually, and secondly by looking at the learners as a group. This should result in the practitioners being able to identify strengths, areas for development and next steps for individual learners, and also as a cohort relating to patterns of results.
Questions the practitioner may reflect on afterwards may include:
Senior leader involvement in the analysis can allow for an overview of the whole school. This could help identify what is working well, what is reassuring, and what the next steps may be. This can also ascertain if the school is in need of particular resources, or professional learning to continue to upskill practitioners. Furthermore, standardised assessments create comparable information. This could be used for improvement planning and/or for assistance with transitions.
“Children and young people in P1, P4, P7 and S3 complete online standardised assessments in literacy and numeracy as part of everyday learning and teaching. The assessments help to identify children’s progress, providing diagnostic information to support teachers’ professional judgement.
Children and young people do not have to revise or prepare for these assessments and there is no pass or fail. The assessments are as inclusive as possible to accommodate the needs of children and young people who require additional support with their learning.” (Scottish Government).
Practitioners should not:
Practitioners should not:
Education Scotland says “The MCNG and SNSA have been designed to enable children and young people to undertake the assessments at any point within the school session. The timing of assessment delivery remains a matter for teachers and schools, in consultation with local authorities. As in previous years, decisions should be made after considering the individual needs and wellbeing of children and young people, the diagnostic purpose of national standardised assessment and the way in which teachers and schools intend to use information.”