Second expert “rubbishes” government’s claims of support for P1 testing policy

After a second leading academic, UCLA’s Professor Popham, branded the Scottish Government’s assertion he was a supporter of P1 testing in Scotland “flat-out incorrect”, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Tavish Scott MSP today demanded the Education Secretary apologise to the educational experts and Parliament.

The Education Secretary claimed on radio, there were “people who emphatically argue for P1 assessments”. After a Scottish Liberal Democrat freedom of information request asked who these people were, the Scottish Government identified the work of world-renowned experts Professor W. James Popham from the University of California and Dylan Wiliam, Emeritus Professor of Educational Assessment at University College London.

Speaking to the Herald, which has been investigating the claims alongside the Scottish Liberal Democrats, Professor Popham denied support for the controversial policy, saying: “Whether made from ignorance or malevolence, the attribution quotation is flat-out incorrect”. Yesterday Professor Dylan Wiliam described it as a “perverse misrepresentation” of his work and issued a blistering rebuke.

Tavish Scott said:

“The Scottish Government’s claims of academic backing for doomed national testing have now utterly fallen apart.

“After Liberal Democrats challenged John Swinney’s assertion that experts ‘emphatically’ back his policy, the only two people the Scottish Government could name have told him what they really think. Their obliteration of both his policy and claims of support is devastating for the Education Secretary.

“Evidence and expertise should be at the heart of every policy. It is now clearer than ever that the SNP’s damaging national tests have neither.”

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