Closing the Attainment Gap: Measuring Progress and Improving Outcomes

Four years on from the launch of the Scottish Attainment Challenge, this event examines the role of assessments in measuring individual student outcomes and the progress that has been made in closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

Improving attainment for all children and young people

Diagnosing issues in an individual child's progress is key to improving attainment for all children and young people, thus helping to close the poverty-related attainment gap between those from the least and most disadvantaged communities. To measure student outcomes, the Scottish Government has reiterated its commitment to standardised assessments at all stages. It is argued in the National Improvement Framework 2019 that standardised assessments, complimented by teachers' professional judgements, will lead to 'a more consistent approach' to measuring individual attainment across Scottish education. 

Join us as we explore the best way to measure attainment, good practice around supporting individual pupils, and what progress has been made towards closing the poverty-related attainment gap? 

Key issues we will address with you

  • The impact of the Scottish Attainment Challenge on the poverty-related attainment gap
  • National Improvement Framework 2019
  • Measuring attainment following the switch from the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy to the Scottish National Standardised Assessments 
  • The relationship between literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing, and attainment 
  • Empowering teachers: the key role of teachers' professional judgements 
  • Good practice and sharing learning around what works

Who should attend? 

  • Head teachers, deputy heads, principal teachers
  • All other primary and secondary teachers
  • Local authority education professionals
  • Elected representatives with an interest in education
  • Academics interested in education


9:45 Registration and Refreshments 

10:25 Welcome and Introduction from the Chair 

10.30 Session 1: National Improvement Framework 2019 and the Attainment Challenge

10:30 Expert speaker

11:00 Dr Gillean McCluskey, Moray House, University of Edinburgh 

11:30 Q&A

11:40 Refreshments and Networking 

12:00 Session 2: Measuring Progress 

12:00 The Importance of Tracking Progress

Katharine Bailey, Director of Policy, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University

12:30 Why Five-Year-Old Children Need Play, Not Tests

Sue Palmer, Independent Writer and Education Consultant; Chair, Upstart Scotland 

13:00 Q&A

13:10 Lunch and Networking

14:00 Session 3: Closing the Gap 

14:00 Panel discussion

This is your opportunity to put your questions to leading policy makers and education experts. 

Jenny Gilruth MSP, Member of the Education and Skills Committee, Scottish National Party (SNP)
Iain Gray MSP, Education Spokesperson, Scottish Labour

Liz Smith MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, Scottish Conservatives

Katharine Bailey, Director of Policy, Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring, Durham University

14:55 Closing Remarks from the Chair 

15:00 Close of Event 

*The agenda is subject to change 

Our events are CPD certified. This event is equivalent to 3 CPD points.
A certificate is available on request post-event to all attendees.



Speaker callout

We are committed to bringing the latest policy information with engaging dialogue and practical case studies to make a real impact in the public sector. If you are a knowledge expert in your field or have an inspiring case study which would make an impact to Public Sector organisations, we would love to hear from you. Please email with your name and contact details, linkedin profile and a summary of your project or area or expertise and we will be in touch.


Central Edinburgh, to be confirmed in due course.


Delegate rates (excluding VAT):

  • Reduced rate: 1 place £145 + VATpp (Voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income of less than £1m)
  • Standard rate: 1 place £245 + VAT | 2+ places £195 + VAT per place (Central government departments and agencies, local authorities, universities, colleges, NHS, police, professional associations and voluntary/charitable organisations with an annual income over £1m)
  • Private Sector rate: 1 place £295 + VAT | 2+ places £245 + VAT per place (Commercial organisations e.g. plc, Ltd, LLP)

For more information please email or phone 0131 285 1635

10 September 2019
Central Edinburgh
United Kingdom



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