‘Fresh analysis by the Scottish Conservatives’ of the attainment gap data is predictably WRONG

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Fed by some Scottish Tory and regurgitated undigested by the Times, the facts are ignored. e were able to report on real progress in narrowing the gap in Scotland’s schools, in February 2019:

‘94.4% of pupils had a ’positive destination’ including work, training or further study within three months of leaving school last year, official statistics show. The figures also reveal that the gap between those from the most and least deprived communities achieving a positive destination has halved since 2009/10, with an increase in positive destinations for school leavers, from both backgrounds. Over the same period there have been increases at all levels of attainment – the qualifications young people are achieving. For the first time more than 30% of pupils left school with a minimum of five passes at Higher Level or better, up from 22.2% in 2009/10. The gap between those from the most and least deprived areas achieving a pass at Higher Level or better is now at a record low, reducing for the eighth successive year.’

https://news.gov.scot/news/record-high-for-school-leavers-in-positive-destinations

Meanwhile in Tory England:

Progress to close the achievement gap for poorer pupils in England’s secondary schools is almost at a “standstill”, say researchers. “For the first time in several years, the gap between poorer pupils and their peers at GCSE has stopped closing,” says report author Jo Hutchinson.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-49150993

Published by johnrobertson834

Retired Professor of Media Politics Not-for-profit independent political analysis

5 thoughts on “‘Fresh analysis by the Scottish Conservatives’ of the attainment gap data is predictably WRONG

  1. Some more data on the attainment gap this time from an UCAS report on University applications .
    published in Feb 2018

    The analysed the applications from each part of the UK for the period from 2006 to 2018 using the POLAR 3 index of deprivation thus allowing them to compare each of the 4 parts of the UK. For Scotland applications to University from deprived areas had gone from 9.6% in 2006 to 17.8% in 2018. Bear in mind that almost a third of university applications in Scotland do not go via UCAS.

    When they compared the ratio of applications from the most advantaged group to the most disadvantaged group over the same time period they found that in 2006 it was 4.5:1 but by 2018 it was 2.6:1 and the narrowing was down to the increase in applications from pupils in the most deprived areas not to any decrease in applications from the most advantaged areas. Their report for 2019 showed a further slight narrowing of the gap.

    No bad.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Legerwood writes: “Bear in mind that almost a third of university applications in Scotland do not go via UCAS.” Is this correct?

      My understanding was that strictly it was applications to ‘higher education’ in Scotland that were not fully accounted for by UCAS data. ‘Higher education’ does not mean the same as ‘University education’: this is a crucial distinction especially within the Scottish system.

      Something that is given too little attention is the difference in the Scottish and English university systems in this regard. Scotland has no ‘low tariff’ universities, only mid and high tariff institutions: ‘tariff’ is UCAS jargon for its measure of ease of entry to a university based on the level of qualifications it requires of successful applicants. (I’d need to check but I seem to recall recent UCAS data pointing out that a higher proportion of Scottish students from more deprived areas are successful in gaining entry to high tariff universities than in England.)

      Whether it’s Scotlands higher education or school level education performance, the scope within what is a complex and data rich ‘space’ for partial and wholly misleading partisan statements in media coverage is, regrettably, huge!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have always understood Higher Education to be University Education and Further Education being College-based and encompassing a range of sub-degree qualifications although some such as HNC/HND can be used to gain access to University either straight into 2nd or 3rd year depending on how closely the HNC/HND are aligned with the University course.

        UCAS seems to be about applications to Universities I.e HE.

        The report I mentioned has this Note on the Applications from Scotland
        “” UCAS covers the overwhelming majority of full-time undergraduate provision for people living in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so the statistics on acceptances or entry rates can be taken as being very close to all recruitment to full-time undergraduate higher education. In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education provision not included in UCAS’ figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland, and this proportion varies by geography and background within Scotland. Accordingly, figures on entry rates or total recruitment in Scotland reflect only the part of full-time undergraduate study that uses UCAS. In 2010, the Scottish Centralised Applications to nursing and midwifery Training Clearing House (CATCH) was incorporated into the UCAS Undergraduate admissions scheme. Data from 2010 onwards includes nursing and midwifery diploma courses in Scotland. In 2014, there were fewer very late acceptances than in other cycles recorded in the UCAS data for some Scottish providers. These changes may mean the number of applicants and acceptances to Scottish UCAS providers in 2014 recorded through UCAS could be understated by up to 2,000, compared to how applicants and acceptances have been reported in recent cycles. This means that comparing 2014 applicants and acceptances for Scottish providers (or those from Scotland) to other cycles, may not give an accurate measure of change. In 2015, around 120 courses at Scottish providers which were previously part of the UCAS Teacher Training scheme, moved into the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. As such, the number of applicants and acceptances to Scottish providers in 2015 recorded through UCAS will include those which were previously part of UCAS Teacher Training. This means that comparing 2015 applicants and acceptances for Scottish providers (or those from Scotland, particularly those aged 21 or over) to previous cycles, may not give a like-for-like measure of change. “”

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I have always understood Higher Education to be University Education and Further Education being College-based and encompassing a range of sub-degree qualifications although some such as HNC/HND can be used to gain access to University either straight into 2nd or 3rd year depending on how closely the HNC/HND are aligned with the University course.

    UCAS seems to be about applications to Universities I.e HE.

    The report I mentioned has this Note on the Applications from Scotland
    “” UCAS covers the overwhelming majority of full-time undergraduate provision for people living in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, so the statistics on acceptances or entry rates can be taken as being very close to all recruitment to full-time undergraduate higher education. In Scotland, there is a substantial section of higher education provision not included in UCAS’ figures. This is mostly full-time higher education provided in further education colleges, which represents around one third of young full-time undergraduate study in Scotland, and this proportion varies by geography and background within Scotland. Accordingly, figures on entry rates or total recruitment in Scotland reflect only the part of full-time undergraduate study that uses UCAS. In 2010, the Scottish Centralised Applications to nursing and midwifery Training Clearing House (CATCH) was incorporated into the UCAS Undergraduate admissions scheme. Data from 2010 onwards includes nursing and midwifery diploma courses in Scotland. In 2014, there were fewer very late acceptances than in other cycles recorded in the UCAS data for some Scottish providers. These changes may mean the number of applicants and acceptances to Scottish UCAS providers in 2014 recorded through UCAS could be understated by up to 2,000, compared to how applicants and acceptances have been reported in recent cycles. This means that comparing 2014 applicants and acceptances for Scottish providers (or those from Scotland) to other cycles, may not give an accurate measure of change. In 2015, around 120 courses at Scottish providers which were previously part of the UCAS Teacher Training scheme, moved into the UCAS Undergraduate scheme. As such, the number of applicants and acceptances to Scottish providers in 2015 recorded through UCAS will include those which were previously part of UCAS Teacher Training. This means that comparing 2015 applicants and acceptances for Scottish providers (or those from Scotland, particularly those aged 21 or over) to previous cycles, may not give a like-for-like measure of change. “”

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    1. For further info, from the Scottish Funding Council (SFC): “In 2017-18, HE entrants at colleges accounted for 26.3% of all HE entrants in Scotland.” 


      Source: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/statisticalpublications_sfcst042019/SFCST0419_HE_students_and_qualifiers_2017-18_Executive_Summary.pdf

      One aspect of the link between HE delivered with colleges and within universities is explained in the SFC’s ‘articulation’ report. As stated: “The purpose of this publication is to provide information on movement from college to university across articulation pathways and to provide figures for levels of accreditation for prior learning.”

      Source: http://www.sfc.ac.uk/web/FILES/statisticalpublications_sfcst062019/SFCST0619_Articulation_from_Scottish_Colleges_to_Scottish_Universities_2017-18_-_Executive_summary.pdf

      Little if anything of this gets into media coverage.

      Like

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