MONMOUTHSHIRE performed well in the all Wales national reading and numeracy tests released yesterday, while Blaenau Gwent lagged behind in some areas.

The tests were introduced by the Welsh Government in May 2013 for all pupils in Years 2 to 9.

Results are standardised, with the average score set at 100.

Girls performed better than boys with the highest percentage of pupils achieving a standardised score greater than 115 seen in Monmouthshire in the English version of the National Reading Test.

Newport came 15th out of 22 local authorities in terms of pupils obtaining the highest scores in English reading tests.

The percentage of pupils achieving a standardised score less than 85 was highest in Blaenau Gwent in both the English and Welsh version of the National Reading Test.

In the numeracy test, the lowest percentage of pupils achieving a standardised score greater than 115 in the Procedural and Reasoning components was seen in Blaenau Gwent.

Of the Gwent counties, Monmouthshire had the most high performers in numeracy, followed by Caerphilly.

Plaid Cymru’s AM Bethan Jenkins, a member of the children, young people and education committee, said there were issues regarding the results: “The OECD has commented the Welsh Government framework for assessment and evaluation of schools lacks coherence. This independent international body has expressed concern that the national tests could narrow the focus of the curriculum to literacy and numeracy at the expense of other subjects.

“There is a tension between the Foundation Phase of learning through doing up to the age of 7, introduced during Plaid Cymru’s period of Government and year 2 pupils sitting formal and literacy and numeracy tests at the end of this phase.

“We all know that literacy and numeracy are crucial for pupils’ life chances, but the Party of Wales believes other skills like creativity and critical thinking are also important.

“International experts believe the Welsh Government should reduce the number of years that these literacy and numeracy tests cover. Many high performing countries do not test all pupils annually.”