Controversial literacy and numeracy tests taken by children as young as four would be axed under plans published by the Greens.

The party said Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs), which are given to pupils in P1, P4, P7 and S3, were causing unnecessary anxiety without providing a clear educational benefit.

It also wants to reintroduce a previously used study, the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN), to monitor progress in learning.

SNSAs are taken online and were introduced amid concern over sliding international performance scores in areas such as maths and science.

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There is no pass or fail and children do not have to revise or prepare for them. Proposals to scrap the tests come after ministers said earlier this year that they would remain available for teachers to deliver following disruption caused by Covid-related school closures.

Ross Greer, education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, said the decision to “impose” standardised assessments on pupils as young as four was “a mistake”.

He added: “SNSAs create a pressure on teachers to narrow the curriculum and focus on satisfying test scores, rather than equipping young people with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

“The Greens will scrap these tests at the first opportunity.”

Mr Greer said the SSLN provided important national data on attainment levels by sampling schools in a non-intrusive manner.

HeraldScotland: Ross Greer said his party would axe the tests at the first opportunity.Ross Greer said his party would axe the tests at the first opportunity.

“Scotland’s teachers meet some of the highest professional standards in the world,” he added.

“We should put our trust in them to deliver what their pupils need, rather than obsessively gather data which has little practical use.

“The SSLN survey did exactly that, before the Government scrapped it. It gathered useful data from a representative sample of pupils while avoiding the pressures which come from testing every pupil and then judging their teachers and schools based on the results.”

Campaigners have welcomed the plans.

Sue Palmer of Upstart Scotland, which wants to introduce a kindergarten stage for children aged 3-7, said she hoped other political parties would announce similar proposals.

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“There is a huge amount of evidence that four and five-year-olds should not be subjected to national standardised assessment of specific literacy and numeracy skills,” she added.

“It would, however, be very helpful to assess this age group’s overall physical, social, emotional and cognitive development, as happens in Canada and Australia, using a well-researched assessment tool called the Early Development Instrument.

“The EDI was successfully trialled in East Lothian in 2011 but, despite excellent peer reviews, was not considered by the Scottish Government at the time, perhaps because they already had plans for the SNSA.

“For the sake of Scotland’s children – and, indeed, our country’s future – we should like to see the EDI substituted for the P1 SNSA.”