The Education Secretary has defended the use of standardised tests for pupils between P1 and S3, after they were described as “demoralising” for children and schools.
However, Shirley-Anne Somerville said the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs) provided “valuable diagnostic information” for teachers.
During a meeting of Holyrood’s Education Committee on Wednesday, she said information from the tests was seeing increased use by teachers.
The SNSAs were introduced in 2017 and the Scottish Government decided to continue with their use following a review in 2019.
MSPs in the previous session of the Scottish Parliament voted to halt P1 testing in 2018.
Liberal Democrat MSP Willie Rennie said data from the SNSAs was leading to the publication of league tables which ranked individual schools, even though the government did not publish these tables itself.
He asked if Ms Somerville would instead consider a “survey approach” to testing.
Mr Rennie said: “Why won’t you consider that, so we can stop having these crude league tables that I think demoralise schools and pupils?”
Ms Somerville said sample evidence could not always provide agencies with enough information.
She said: “The purpose of national assessments is primarily informative, it’s there to provide very important and valuable diagnostic information to teachers on children’s progress.
“They were never designed to be the measure of everything in Curriculum for Excellence.”
She continued: “We are seeing an increased use of them by teachers and they are finding them more useful as the years have gone on.”