TWO leading academics whose views on primary school testing were ‘misrepresented’ have received an apology from the First Minister.

Nicola Sturgeon said it was not the intention of the Scottish Government to infer the pair backed the roll-out of the controversial assessments.

She told the Scottish Parliament: “In terms of the professors, their work was cited as we believed their work was evidence of support for formative assessment.

“If we got that wrong then of course we apologise to the professors for that. We do not say they specifically supported the Scottish National Standardised Assessments.

“I believe the assessments are important because it is important to have something which allows teachers to moderate their own judgements.”

The issue was raised by Willie Rennie, the leader of the Scottish Liberal Democrats, during questions to the First Minister at Holyrood.

As The Herald revealed this week, two academics were cited in a response from Government officials which highlighted research work that had inspired the Scottish assessments.

However, Dylan William, emeritus professor at University College London, said the inclusion of his name was a “substantial and perverse misrepresentation” of his views.

Professor W James Popham, from the University of California, Los Angeles, said his work should not be construed as support for standardised assessments - particularly of five-year-olds.

He added: “Whether made from ignorance or malevolence, the attribution quotation is flat-out incorrect.”

During the exchange with Ms Sturgeon, Mr Rennie called for the tests to be scrapped.

He said: “Teachers are against the tests, councils are ditching the tests, Parliament voted against the tests and now the minister’s preferred experts think the tests are useless.”

Ms Sturgeon introduced the assessments as a response to concerns over falling standards of literacy and numeracy and a lack of consistent data across the country.

However, critics claim they are too stressful for the youngest pupils and do not provide useful feedback.

Formative assessments help teachers judge how well a pupil is progressing while more controversial summative tests establish whether a child has reached a particular target.

An independent inquiry into the assessments has been ordered by ministers.