In an all-too-typical feeding frenzy, Scotland’s MSM misinterpret the data and personalise it in terms of the First Minister, not the education minister, not the education authorities, not the schools and not the teachers, all of whom, to some degree have had day-to-day responsibility for narrowing the attainment gap between those in the most deprived area and those better off.
The Herald has clearly restrained its Nicolaphobes, avoided such a front page, and has provided this correct data:
Statistics from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) show that for pupils in the 20 per cent most deprived areas of Scotland, the Higher pass rate was 70.2per cent this year, down from 83.2 per cent last year
The SQA said the attainment gap between the most and least deprived areas of Scotland was 15 percentage points in 2022, up from 7.8 percentage points in 2021. However the gap is narrower than in 2019, when it was 16.9 percentage points.https://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/20611678.attainment-gap-widens-poorer-pupils-suffer-greater-impact-pandemic/
So, to repeat the bleeding obvious, you can’t meaningfully compare the exam-based 2022 results with the no-exam-based 2020 or 2021 results. Teachers in deprived areas were then given the power to actually close the gap by using their wider knowledge of what they felt pupils could do. You might want to make non-exam-based methods the norm but no credible educationist would make the comparison that has informed the above headlines.
Comparing 2019 and 2022 is also a bit problematic but it’s a lot more credible. So, the narrowing between 2019 and 2022 of 1.9% as a percentage of the 2019 gap, 16.9%, is 11.2%. That’s a statistically significant difference.
That’s the news.
Footnote: The Herald holding back from anything that might be used to attack their pals in the EIS leadership? https://talkingupscotlandtwo.com/2020/12/17/eis-labour-media-chums-campaign-against-snp-is-certainly-determined-if-unrepresentative/