Skip to main content

Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-16172: Ross Greer (West Scotland)

Scottish Green Party

Date lodged: 25 April 2018

To ask the Scottish Government, in light of the research published in the Oxford Review of Education by Jerrim et al, PISA 2015: how big is the ‘mode effect’ and what has been done about it?, which suggests that computer-based assessments have a negative impact on pupil performance when compared with paper-based assessments, whether it plans to review its decision to switch to computer-based assessments for the Scottish Standardised National Assessments.

Answered by: John Swinney 10 May 2018

As noted in the answer to S5W-16171 on 10 May 2018 the research published in the Oxford Review of Education by Jerrim et al, PISA 2015: how big is the ‘mode effect’ and what has been done about it? refers specifically to a PISA assessment that was available in both paper and computer-based formats. The learners involved did not have the same experience.

The Scottish Government believes computer-based assessment is the best mode for this type of activity. Computer-based assessments are adaptive getting more or less challenging dependent on how a learner responds. This tailors the questions to the needs and progress of each individual learner in ‘real time’. Computer-based assessment provides a breadth of diagnostic information in a number of formats and does not require teacher time to mark the answers.

The Scottish National Standardised Assessments are a level playing field: all learners are presented with computer-based assessments, therefore there is a clear and fair baseline unlike assessments that have been made available in both paper and computer-based formats.

All answers to written Parliamentary Questions are available on the Parliament's website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx