PARENTS are concerned about the potentially damaging impact of the reintroduction of standardised national tests in schools across Scotland.

An online survey of members of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council (SPTC) found more than 16 per cent disagreed with the policy while 50 per cent were uncertain of the benefits.

However, 30 per cent were in favour of the Scottish Government plans to test pupils at key stages of primary school and again in secondary.

The Herald's View: Making national tests work for everyone

Crucially, for a majority of respondents the priority was that test results were shared between children, parents and teachers rather than with other schools, local authorities or at a national level.

Eileen Prior, SPTC’s executive director, said: “From the feedback we received, it seems parents’ greatest concern is the way data from the assessments would be used.

“In schools where standardised assessment is already used, participants rated their satisfaction at 2.4 out of 5 when asked about the way the information is shared.

“To us this indicates that gathering data does not solve the fundamental issue of how schools share good quality information with families in an effective way, and involve them in supporting their child’s learning.”

Ms Prior said many of the 265 parent council member who took part felt that making data available on a national basis would lead to schools feeling “pressure” to rise higher in league tables, rather than using it to identify support and next steps for individual pupils.

One parent commented: “A test score is self-limiting as it does not capture the strengths and achievements of pupils who do not test well.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last year that standardised testing for primary and secondary pupils was to be reintroduced.

The move came after the biennial Scottish Survey of Literacy found standards of reading and writing were falling despite the introduction of the Curriculum for Excellence, which was expected to raise basic standards.

Although most councils use standardised tests the Scottish Government is concerned there is no national picture of how well different schools are performing.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, said concerns of parents about the new tests were mirrored by teachers.

He said: “The SPTC survey confirms the view of the EIS that the potential misuse of assessment data to support league tables and inappropriate target setting is the greatest concern around standardised assessments.

“Parents and pupils are entitled to useful assessment feedback but it should be focused on improving learning not ticking political boxes.”

A Scottish Government spokesman said: "We are developing the National Improvement Framework, which will support parents, teachers and policy-makers and provide a much clearer picture of what works best in improving educational outcomes for all.

"We listened carefully to the views of parents, children, teachers and other stakeholders throughout its development and the findings of this survey reinforces our approach.

“Our draft National Improvement Framework will build on a strong record of achievement, with the aim of ensuring we have the right information about children’s progress right across Scotland."

In 2003, the former Labour-led Scottish Executive announced its intention to scrap national testing because of the concern teachers had become overly-focused on “teaching to the test”.

However, the policy took several years to implement and the majority of Scotland’s local authorities still use some form of standardised assessment to judge pupils’ progress. However, because they use different systems, building a national picture of attainment is difficult.

An Audit Scotland report from 2014 found there were no comparable measures available at a council and national level on the performance of pupils from P1-S3.