TEACHERS are being ordered to test all primary pupils in their class at the same time against guidelines, it has been claimed.

Standardised assessments were introduced by the Scottish Government to hep teachers assess progress of individual pupils.

However, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) teaching union said members had been asked by councils to “blanket test” pupils instead.

In one example to be raised at the EIS annual general meeting later this week Midlothian Council was accused of ordering all staff to test pupils in March this year.

Read more: Teachers threaten boycott over blanket testing plans

Larry Flanagan, general secretary of the EIS, called on all councils to abide by government guidelines.

He said: “We are absolutely opposed to the blanket testing of entire cohorts at an arbitrary point of time set by a local authority.

“The assessments are intended to be supportive of teacher professional judgement and deployed at a time of the teachers’ choosing based on their knowledge of the pupils.

“Testing entire cohorts in this way is a breach of guidelines and a move towards the league table, target setting agenda that we were assured wouldn’t happen.”

Eileen Prior, executive director of parent body Connect, said blanket testing would do more harm than good.

She said: “Parents, many of whom remain concerned, particularly about testing in P1, were assured children would only be assessed when they were ready.

“Blanket testing means that some young children will be undergoing a test which they are going to struggle with.

“We cannot have children at such a young age under this kind of stress. It might have damaging and lasting consequences for them as they lose confidence in their own abilities.”

Read more: Blanket testing 'risky and unneccessary'

A Midlothian Council spokeswoman said: “The use of standardised assessments have been utilised for a long time in Midlothian and are used as a diagnostic tool to help learners identify next steps and to support teacher professional judgement.”

Under the new Scottish National Standardised Assessments pupils will be tested four times throughout their school life in P1, P4, P7 and S3 to help judge progress in reading, writing and numeracy.

Guidelines state that teachers, in consultation with schools and councils, should decide when, within each year, is the most appropriate time “to understand how individual children are progressing”.

The guidelines have been introduced to prevent councils using the assessments as a benchmark of teacher performance or a way of comparing different schools.

Evidence suggests that when tests are used in this way they lead to teachers “teaching to the test” rather than focusing on the breadth of education on offer.

Meanwhile, Nicola Fisher, the outgoing president of the EIS, will use her speech to the AGM to highlight the value of teachers to society.

She said: “Education is the glue which holds society together. Without education, there are no doctors, no nurses and no plumbers.

“We are the only profession which is inextricably linked to the continuation of all other jobs, all other workers, all other careers.”