In the Herald this morning:

‘SCOTTISH children are no longer the best at reading across the UK and Ireland – after being knocked off the top spot in a “stinging blow” to education leaders. The largest literacy study ever conducted in the UK, written by Professor Keith Topping from the University of Dundee, has revealed that Scottish pupils are now joint second in terms of their level of reading comprehension – on a par with England and behind Northern Ireland.’

I can find no sign of ‘proper’ peer-reviewed research, published in a credible journal, but only this press release on the Dundee University website:

‘The What Kids Are Reading Report 2020, written by the University of Dundee’s Professor Keith Topping for reading practice and assessment provider Renaissance UK, showed that Scottish youngsters have slipped behind Northern Ireland and have come joint second in terms of level of reading comprehension, alongside England.

In an effort to access the actual report, I find that What Kids Are Reading reports are published by a US corporation which seems to fund ‘research’ as part of its marketing strategy stimulating the sales of a narrow range of books which it describes as the ‘Top 20 Books’ for different levels of reading. Renaissance reports also have links to produce such as these:

I can’t seem to access any report with details of sampling, methodology or data. The Dundee press release has no link to it but, oddly, does list some of the ‘favourite books and authors.’ I remain open to being corrected about this, if someone can provide me with a link.

I see regarding last years report:

The annual What Kids are Reading Report, analysed by the University of Dundee’s Professor Keith Topping, was written using data compiled by literacy and assessment provider Renaissance UK. The study analysed the reading habits of 1,057,720 pupils across the UK and Ireland, including 29,524 in Scotland.

The data was provided by a private business?