In the Herald today, regular critic of all the SNP have done in education, Prof Lindsay Paterson claims:
The proportion of Scottish school leavers securing at least one pass at Higher or equivalent has fallen in the vast majority of council areas, sparking warnings that decades long progress in improving attainment has “stalled”. Analysis of data covering the 10-year period to 2018/19 suggests the percentage of school leavers with at least one pass at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level 6 or better – which includes Highers and typically provides the standard for progression to university – has been flatlining since around 2015.
In 2020, the Higher pass rate was 78.9%, up from 74.8% in 2019:
From Maureen McKenna, Glasgow’s Director of Education, writing in December 2019:
22.3% The proportion of pupils achieving five or more awards at Higher or equivalent by the end of S5. This has almost doubled since 2009-10, when the figure was 11.3 per cent
44.4% Proportion of school leavers in the most deprived areas of Scotland achieving at least one Higher or equivalent in 2017-18. In 2012-13 that figure stood at 34.9 per cent
62.2% Proportion of school leavers gaining at least one Higher or equivalent in 2017-18, compared to 55.8 per cent in 2012-13.
Paterson goes on to make ludicrous, infantile, connections between curriculum changes and the plateau he sees emerge in 2015 and ‘sliding scores in international measurements’, none of which are considered useful by real educationists.
Paterson is a mere statistician who started off in agriculture research. It shows.
He has a political agenda too. That shows.
Paterson loves to get on UK media to undermine Scottish education, free of comparisons like these, of course:
Second, some comparative figures with our so-successful neighbour:
A breakdown of GCSE results issued by the Department for Education (DfE) showed the gap between disadvantaged pupils and others increased for the second year in a row. The introduction of tougher exams appears to have halted the improvement seen in previous years. Just 456 of the 143,000 pupils classed as disadvantaged by the DfE achieved top grade 9s in English and maths last summer, compared with 6,132 out of 398,000 other pupils.
Meanwhile, in Scottish schools, the gap is closing. See:
‘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.’