Chapter 4: Pupil questionnaire
- Pupils are generally motivated to learn and to do well at school: nearly all pupils in all stages agree that they want to do well in learning and over 80 per cent of pupils can see the usefulness of their learning outside the context of school.
- There has been increased use of ICT in the classroom compared to 2013 and pupils report high levels of confidence in using computers/tablets to carry out research.
- Enjoyment of numeracy is high in primary but lower at S2: in P4, nine out of ten pupils agreed they enjoyed working with numbers. In P7, this was over three quarters of all pupils and, at S2, two thirds of all pupils.
All pupils participating in the SSLN were asked to complete a questionnaire which focused on factors that are likely to affect learning, such as pupil attitudes and experiences in class. It should be noted that: 'don't know' responses were removed prior to analysis unless otherwise stated; and where 'agreed' is used this refers to pupils who responded either 'agree a lot' or 'agree a little'.
4.1 Activities in school
Pupils were asked how often they participated in a range of activities in their class. Across all stages, the activities in which the highest percentage of pupils reported they participated very often were 'listen to the teacher talk to the class about a topic' (64, 68 and 66 per cent in P4, P7 and S2 respectively) and 'work on your own' (58, 56 and 59 per cent in P4, P7 and S2). A high percentage of pupils in P7 (64 per cent) also reported that they 'discussed what they were learning' very often.
There was an increase in the percentage of S2 pupils reporting that they use computers at school very often, between the 2013 and 2015 surveys (from 21 per cent in 2013 to 24 per cent in 2015). This follows an increase from 14 per cent in 2011. Meanwhile, the same question for P4 and P7 shows a return to levels similar to 2011 having fallen between 2011 and 2013 (from 34 per cent in 2011 to 24 per cent in 2013 to 30 per cent in 2015 for P4, and similarly 38 per cent, 31 per cent and 37 per cent for P7).
Pupils were also asked about their teachers' practices. The most commonly reported teaching practices being undertaken very often were 'tell you what you are going to learn before you start' (82, 89 and 76 per cent in P4, P7 and S2 respectively) and 'encourage you to work hard' (68, 85 and 65 per cent in P4, P7 and S2 respectively). Over three quarters of P7 pupils reported that their teacher helps them to understand how they can do better very often. Similar proportions of P4 and S2 pupils reported that teachers go too slowly as too fast - around 11 per cent did this very often in each case in P4 and around 14 per cent in S2. In P7, almost double the proportion of pupils reported teachers going through work too slowly (13 per cent) than too fast (seven per cent).
Pupils were also asked how often someone in school talked with them about their learning, Chart 4.1 illustrates the results. Around a third of pupils in the primary stages reported that they received feedback on performance and improvement very often, but this reduced to a fifth in S2.
Chart 4.1: How often does someone in school talk with you about:
4.2 Attitudes to learning and numeracy
Pupils were asked a series of questions about their attitude towards learning in general, including how much they enjoy it, how useful they think it is, and whether they think they are good at learning. Chart 4.2 illustrates the answers to these three questions.
Chart 4.2: How much do you agree with the following?
Enjoyment of learning was high throughout the survey stages, though the strength of this agreement reduced slightly at S2. The proportion of pupils reporting that they usually did well remained steady, with over 95 per cent of pupils at each stage agreeing either a lot or a little. Sixty per cent of pupils in P4, 64 per cent in P7 and 37 per cent of S2 pupils strongly agreed that what they are learning in school is useful to them outside of school. This rises to over 90 per cent for both primary and 80 per cent for S2 stages when including pupils who also agreed a little.
Almost all pupils at all stages agreed with the statements 'I want to do well in my learning' (97 per cent in P4 and S2 and 98 per cent in P7) and 'I am interested in learning about different things' (97 per cent in P4 and P7 and 94 per cent in S2). The proportion of P4 pupils agreeing with the statement 'I don't like learning' decreased between 2013 and 2015 (14 to 11 per cent).
Pupils were also asked about working with numbers. Chart 4.3 illustrates similar patterns to learning in general. Enjoyment is highest in P4 and P7 where 90 per cent and 83 per cent of pupils stated they enjoyed working with numbers, respectively. At S2, two-thirds of pupils reported enjoying numeracy work. The proportion of pupils that agreed with the statement 'I learn things quickly when working with numbers' has shown a statistically significant decrease for all stages between 2013 and 2015. The largest decrease is for S2 from 70 per cent in 2013 to 64 per cent in 2015; however this follows a rise from 63 per cent in 2011.
Chart 4.3: How much do you agree with the following?
Pupils were asked about perceptions of their abilities in each of the numeracy organisers. Chart 4.4 shows the proportion of pupils answering very good or good and the subjects are ordered according to perceptions at P7. 'Chance and uncertainty' and 'fractions, decimal fractions and percentages' were consistently reported as the areas where fewest pupils thought they were good, while 'money' and 'time' were generally the most favoured.
The proportion of S2 pupils reporting that they thought they were very good or good showed a statistically significant decrease between the 2013 and 2015 surveys in four of the eight numeracy organisers they were asked about. These included 'measurement' (67 to 62 per cent), 'data and analysis' (55 to 52 per cent) and time (83 to 81 per cent) 'In all cases this represents a reversal of the increases seen between 2011 and 2013. However, for the three other areas that showed increases between 2011 and 2013 ('fractions', 'chance and uncertainty' and 'number and number processes') there remains statistically significant increases over the period 2011 to 2015.
For P7 pupils there has been a decrease in those who thought they are good or very good at 'measurement' from 70 per cent in 2013 to 64 per cent in 2015.
Chart 4.4: How good do you think you are at the following? (Proportion responding very good or good, sorted by P7)
*P4 pupils were not asked about the 'chance and uncertainty' and 'number' organisers.
4.3 Links between attitudes and attainment
The results showed evidence of a difference between pupils' views of their abilities in numeracy and their actual performance in the SSLN. To illustrate this Chart 4.5 shows the difference between S2 pupils' views of their abilities (proportion of pupils who thought they were good or very good) and the assessment results (proportion of questions answered correctly), by numeracy organiser.
S2 pupils viewed their own ability more positively than their performance in the assessment for all eight numeracy organisers. However there was substantial variation depending on the organiser. For example 52 per cent of S2 pupils thought they were good or very good at 'data and analysis' and 48 per cent of those questions were answered correctly. This compares to 81 per cent of pupils who thought they were good or very good at 'time' whereas only 41 per cent of those questions were answered correctly.
Chart 4.5: Difference between S2 pupils' view of ability and performance
P4 and P7 pupils also rated their ability more favourably than the results of the survey suggests but not to the same extent as S2 pupils. P4 pupils were more positive than the survey for five of the six organisers, whilst P7 pupils were more positive than the survey for five of the eight organisers they were asked about.
4.4 School environment and use of ICT
Pupils were also asked about their school environment. Chart 4.6 illustrates the answers for two questions on behaviour. A higher proportion of P4 and P7 pupils report that 'most pupils behave well in my class' than is the case at S2. Eighty-three per cent of P4 and 82 per cent of P7 pupils agree with this statement compared to 66 per cent of S2 pupils. However when asked how much they agree with the statement 'I am often distracted from my work by other pupils talking or misbehaving' 72 per cent of P4 agree a lot or a little and 67 per cent of P7 and S2 pupils agree a lot or a little.
Chart 4.6: How much do you agree with the following?
Pupils were asked what they would do if they didn't understand what they were learning, Chart 4.7 shows the results. For P4 and P7 pupils the most common response was to 'ask a teacher or classroom assistant'. Forty-two per cent for P4 pupils and 52 per cent for P7 pupils would do this very often. However S2 pupils were more likely to 'ask another pupil to help me' which 51 per cent of respondents said they would do very often.
Chart 4.7: Responses to the question 'If I don't understand what we are learning in class, I…'. (Proportion replying very often)
A minority of students at all stages felt they were included in decisions that related to their class/school very often. The proportion varied from 15 per cent at S2, to 25 per cent at P4, peaking at 36 per cent at P7.
When asked about their engagement in cultural and local activities pupils in S2 were less likely to be involved across all measures than was the case for both P4 and P7. In particular the proportion of pupils who said they or their class had engaged in 'activities related to the environment' decreased from 66 per cent in P4 and 72 per cent in P7 to just 26 per cent in S2. Similarly, when asked about 'activities that involve people in your local area' 43 per cent of S2 pupils said they had been involved in the current school year compared to 70 per cent in P4 and 77 per cent in P7.
Pupils were asked a series of questions about the use made of ICT. A high proportion of pupils, across all stages, were confident in their use of ICT. Over 90 per cent of pupils were confident in using a computer or tablet to find out information or carry out research. Large majorities at all stages reported being confident typing and editing work, creating tables, graphs or charts and making presentations.
Chart 4.8: How often do you use computers, tablets, etc to…
Pupils also reported enjoying using computers and tablets and doing well in computer based tasks, at all stages. Chart 4.8 shows the use made of computers, tablet etc. The use made of them for literacy and numeracy work was highest at P4 and lowest at S2. At P4, 32 per cent of pupils reported using computers or tablets to complete literacy work and 38 per cent numeracy work. In P7, this was 24 per cent for literacy and 26 per cent for numeracy; for S2 this was 20 per cent for literacy and 18 per cent for numeracy.