Evidence for the Key Priorities:
Key Priority: Improvement in attainment, particularly in
literacy and numeracy
This chapter focuses on the available evidence in relation to the National Improvement Framework Priority 'Improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy'.
It shows the main evidence on childhood development in the early years, and achievement throughout the Broad General Education (throughout Primary and up to the end of Secondary 3), and finally at the Senior Phase.
In line with our approach to the implementation of Curriculum for Excellence ( CfE), high level assessment guidance for the Broad General Education ( BGE) was developed nationally and implemented locally, based on the principles of personalisation and a learner centred culture. There has been no national requirement to undertake set assessment tasks throughout the Broad General Education, or to produce assessment data in specific formats. Assessment during the Senior Phase of CfE is primarily based on SQA qualifications, alongside other benchmarked qualifications and wider achievement awards.
Our approach to assessing achievement across the Broad General Education is evolving. In order to gain a better understanding of children and young people's achievement in literacy and numeracy across the Broad General Education, a new 'Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence ( CfE) Levels' return was introduced in the school year 2015/16, and information was collected from all local authority and grant-aided schools in Scotland.
This new return collects information on the CfE Level for which teachers have professionally judged their children and young people in Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7, and Secondary 3 have achieved in relation to their Reading, Writing, Listening & Talking, and Numeracy as at the end of the school year ( i.e. June).
Children's experiences and development during the first years of their lives often have a large effect on their learning throughout their lives.
The latest published Child Health 27-30 Month Review Statistics showed that in 2015/16:
- 88% of all eligible children were reviewed, broadly similar since the review began in April 2013.
- 64% of all eligible children are known to have no concerns about any aspects of their development, up from 62% in 2013/14.
- Speech, language & communication continued to be the developmental domain where most concerns were identified. 11% of children reviewed had a newly identified concern about their speech, language & communication and an additional 2% had a known concern in this domain prior to their review.
Broad General Education
Achievement in Literacy and Numeracy
The annual Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence ( CfE) return collects data from all publicly funded schools, and gathers information for all pupils in Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7 and Secondary. This return measures national performance in aspects of literacy ( i.e. reading, writing, and listening and talking) and numeracy, and reports on the proportion of pupils who have achieved the expected CfE Level, based on teacher professional judgments, relevant to their stage.
The 2016/17 data shows that the percentage of P1, P4 and P7 pupils who are achieving the expected CfE Level relevant for their stage are:
Achievement in Literacy and Numeracy
The 2016/17 data shows that the percentage of S3 pupils who are achieving CfE 3 rd Level or better, and those achieving CfE 4 th Level are:
Qualifications form an important part of the picture of how well young people have done when they leave school. In addition to formal qualifications, many young people achieve vocational and other awards, gaining skills relevant to a wide range of employment opportunities. Another key part of the picture is whether young people enter positive destinations after leaving school, such as attending college or university, entering employment, securing activity agreements or undertaking voluntary work.
Information on qualifications and sustained school leaver destinations are published annually in June. Below are the main findings from the 2017 publication. The full publication and more information on this data collection can be found in the Summary Statistics for Attainment, Leaver Destinations and Healthy Living publication.
Under CfE, schools and partners are able to offer a greater personalisation and choice in the Senior Phase (S4 to S6) in a range of ways. For example by designing the Senior Phase as a three-year experience rather than planning each year separately, or by delivering national qualifications over a variable timeframe in response to young people's needs and prior achievements. It is therefore important that we look at the attainment of young people at the point of exit from school (leavers), not at some specific point during their school career ( e.g. in S5) or in specific qualification types ( e.g. Highers).
- In 2015/16, 61.7% of school leavers left with one or more passes at SCQF Level 6 or better;
- 2.0% with no passes at SCQF Level 3 or better; and
- 36.3% with highest level of pass at SCQF Level 3, 4, or 5.
The percentage of school leavers gaining one or more qualifications at SCQF Level 6 or better increased from 60.2% for 2014/15 to 61.7% for 2015/16 school leavers.
Literacy and numeracy are essential skills for any school leaver. Pupils can achieve literacy or numeracy at a certain level by passing the relevant Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA) literacy or numeracy units at National 3, 4 and 5. These units are included within a range of courses at these levels. The percentages of leavers attaining Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ( SCQF) Levels 3 to 5 in literacy and numeracy for 2015/16 are shown below. More information on these figures can be found in the 2017 Summary Statistics for Attainment, Leaver Destinations and Healthy Living publication. More information on the SCQF Levels can be found on the SCQF website.
Around 96.5% of leavers attained literacy at SCQF level 3 or above in 2015/16. Likewise, 96.1% achieved this in numeracy.
At SCQF Levels 4 and 5 or better, a higher proportion of pupils attained literacy skills than numeracy skills.
International Comparison – Collaborative Problem Solving
The Programme for International Student Assessment ( PISA) is an assessment of 15-year-olds' skills carried out under the auspices of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD). Each survey includes questions on three core domains – reading, mathematics and science.
In 2015, Scotland also participated in the innovative domain – collaborative problem solving which was define by the OECD as ' the capacity of an individual to effectively engage in a process whereby two or more agents attempt to solve a problem by sharing the understanding and effort required to come to a solution and pooling their knowledge, skills and efforts to reach that solution'.
The results of this assessment were published in November 2017, and showed:
- In collaborative problem solving, Scotland's performance in 2015 was higher than the OECD average with a mean score of 513 points.
- With respect to Scotland's relative position (compared to OECD countries and UK administrations) Scotland was outperformed by nine countries, was similar to six, and performed higher than 19.
- The proportion of low performers (below Level 2) was 23.8% and was lower than the OECD average ( 28.1%).
- The proportion of high performers (at Level 4) was 9.8%, and was higher than the OECD average of 7.9%.
- The strength of relationship between social disadvantage and a pupil's score in Scotland was lower than the OECD average. About 6% of the variation in Scotland could be explained by socio-economic factors.
- The extent to which disadvantage was related to performance (or 'gradient') in Scotland was similar to the average across OECD countries and amounts to around 28 points.
- Scotland's performance in collaborative problem solving was above the OECD average. Within the UK, Scotland's performance was below England, similar to Northern Ireland and above Wales.