CHILDREN who test their maths and literacy skills with web-based games progress fastest overall in the subjects, a study claims.

Research shows pupils who spend one hour a week playing online educational games improved three times faster than who played little or not at all.

Based on a six-month trial of schools in Glasgow, the study aimed to measure the effectiveness of internet games for improving mathematics proficiency.

The majority of pupils taking part attend a school where more than 60 per cent of the school population lives in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland.

In total, 764 students across 63 Glasgow Primary Schools took part in the pilot run by the gaming firm Sumdog, which creates online app for children to hone their talents in English and maths.

The study was independently reviewed by Andrew Gallacher, maths education coordinator at the University of Glasgow, who described the results as “really significant”.

“I think one of the key strengths of Sumdog is that it has been aligned with Curriculum for Excellence,” he said. “Aside from its clear benefits in terms of improved maths proficiency, that makes it a really practical planning tool for teachers.”

The research comes as it emerged three in four Scottish teachers believe preparing for new national online tests will be “challenging” - despite Government promises that workload will not increase.

The online exams are due to be introduced next year for several year-groups in primary and secondary school covering literacy and numeracy.

They were announced in June by Education Secretary John Swinney at the annual general meeting of the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching union, who said: “No additional workload – no high-stakes, externally marked tests. It’s not internal or external. It’s automatic.”

It would use the latest technology to ensure pupils’ progress in P1, P4, P7 and S3 was easily measured by teachers, without adding to their burden by asking them to mark the new assessments.

Commenting on the teacher survey results, Sumdog CEO Andrew Hall said: “Our survey suggests that the overwhelming majority believe preparing their pupils for these new online assessments will be challenging.

“There are probably a wide variety of reasons for this. But feedback from individual teachers as part of the survey suggests many are worried that pupils lack experience in doing online assessments – and this could make their introduction more challenging than would otherwise be the case.”

In all, 252 teachers were surveyed.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “Teachers will not be required to prepare children for the assessments, they will be done as part of normal learning and teaching to assess progress – they are not tests or exams children will need to study for.

“Teachers will be provided with technical support and guidance on using the assessments and for interpreting the results, which they can then use to see how children are progressing and to help tailor future learning plans and support for individual children.”