SOME Scottish pupils are facing classroom tests lasting up to 50 minutes under controversial plans.

The public tender for new assessments in reading, writing and numeracy says tests will be shorter for the majority, but could be 50 minutes for those requiring extra time.

The tender document also reveals the cost of delivering the tests in P1, P4, P7 and S3 will be an estimated £12 million over the first five years of the contract.

Read more: Cost of new Scottish school tests £12m over five years

Last night, the National Parent Forum of Scotland said tests of up to 50 minutes long for pupils as young as five could lead to increased stress - even if they were split into smaller segments to make them more manageable.

Iain Ellis, chair of the forum, said: "The Scottish Government has reduced the overall time that these tests could take from an hour, but we still have concerns that 50 minutes is too long.

"Officials are telling us that they expect the tests to last no longer than 20 minutes, but if that is what they want then why don't they tender for a test lasting that length of time?


"We will have to monitor the introduction of these tests closely to make sure pupils are not being put under too much pressure and that stress levels do not rise as a result."

Teaching unions also attacked the maximum length of time for the tests - as well as the cost.

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, said: "At a time when education budgets are under pressure and schools are struggling to finance essential resources teachers will be shocked at this level of investment.

Read more: Results of new national school tests to be given to parents

"Many teachers have reservations over the educational value of these assessments so the high financial cost of implementing this system will only add to these concerns.

"The proposed maximum length of these assessments at 50 minutes would appear to be somewhat excessive given that they are intended only to inform teachers' professional judgement and the fact that some very young pupils, age 4 or 5, will be expected to sit them."

However, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said the assessments would be "as short as possible" and would be appropriate to pupils' age and their academic ability.


She said: "We expect that assessments will normally take 20 to 25 minutes, allowing for more time to be provided when it is in the child’s best interests.

"The 50 minutes is not an expectation, but is the absolute maximum so that when a child does need more time the assessment does not go on indefinitely.

“Teachers will decide the appropriate time within the school year for individual pupils to sit the assessments to best inform them of children’s progress and plan individual children’s future learning."

Read more: Teachers threaten to boycott new national school tests

The current debate around the reintroduction of national testing dates back to recent publications of the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy which found standards of reading and writing were falling for some age groups.

The Scottish Government believes there is insufficient data on pupil performance in primary schools to establish which schools are performing well and which should be doing better.