Scottish education revealed as more equal

I stumbled across this – Educational achievement in English-speaking countries: Do different surveys tell the same story? – from 2004. It’s getting on a bit but seems unlikely to be off the mark given the trends in England over the past decade and the move there toward greater inequality across the board.

The first graph, above, which combines data from England and Scotland, reveals the UK (GBR) to have a larger attainment gap (dispersion), between those getting the lower scores and those getting the higher scores, and to have below median achievement overall. In the same top-right quadrant (unequal and failing) we find the USA as the worst performing and in the bottom left quadrant we find more equal and successful countries such as those in Scandinavia, Canada and of course Finland.

However, in a graph where, by chance, only Scottish data was available, the picture changes dramatically:

In the above graph comparing the attainment gaps in maths and reading of those children whose mothers did or did not complete upper secondary education (to Year 6), the GBR data (Scotland only) places the UK among the more equal countries in the bottom left quadrant, where the gap was narrower for both subjects.

The report notes tellingly, with regard to the above:

No parental education data were collected by TIMSS in England so the UK difference for TIMSS in Figure 4 is the value for Scotland alone. Comparing means for Scotland and England in PISA suggests that were parental education to have been collected in TIMSS then the difference for the UK would have been a fair bit larger.



6 thoughts on “Scottish education revealed as more equal

  1. John
    Congrats on a Brilliant piece of research
    Go to the top of the class please
    Tis others in the MSM and even a few of high authority and influence within the Indy movement
    As far attainment gaps pertain should be
    Not only be at the bottom of the class
    But stood upon the corner
    Adorning a Dunces cap

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Well done!

    I recall data from c mid-1990s (perhaps earlier) when huge volumes of educational data were being produced with the University of Stirling, under Sally Brown, revealing many informative insights into the factors correlating positively with children’s school attainment. Of course, we must remember, following David Hume that a ‘correlation is not a cause.’ but such correlations indicate that there might be something worth investigating further. Household income had the greatest correlation with attainment, but, not far behind as a predictor of attainment was the educational level of mothers. So, it is ‘surprising’ that English data collection does not include information of maternal education.

    Of course, those of us with a background in schools know well how important mammies are, especially in pre-school and early years in encouraging and supporting their children. The answer to closing the attainment ‘gap’ lies in substantial investment in the first ten years of children’s lives and that includes significantly improving financial, medical and social support for mothers.

    As a feyther , I have to say that we are pretty influential, too, and it was the economic imperative of employment that forced many feythers to leave child rearing substantially to mammies (and grannies). With changes to work patterns many more feythers are able to participate to a greater extent in child rearing.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Good point, particularly since the idea that children should not7 begin formal education till they reach the age of 7 is beginning to gain some traction.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I read (Guardian) that over 10% of children were absent from schools in England last year, double pre-covid levels.
    Some years ago, it was asserted that absentee-ism was thought to be a contributing factor to “good” pisa scores for England, as the absent pupils tended to be the least interested in exams.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. gavinochiltree

      In todays modern rapidly changing world PISA is not fit for purpose
      England right wingers are deliberately enacting slowly but surely with regards education
      1.Keep the lower class ignorant
      They as we keep them trodden upon will not realise how the ground is being cut from beneath them
      And in conjunction with disenfranchisement of the lower classes the Tories ensure perpetual rule
      They know full well UK bankrupt and the intractable problems unsolvable
      Revolution in England is now the only viable way forward for them


  4. There is no attainment gap in Scotland compared to other places. Scotland has the highest educated population in the world. Pro rata. Uni, colleges and apprenticeships. The highest number in the world (pro rata). Levels of attainment are the highest. 98% of pupils have a positive outcome. They go on to further training. Life long learning. Mature students. Canada is next 56% rate. Look it up on the internet.

    7 years start to school. 2 years at kindergarten and learning from play. Same here. Increased nursery places. From birth. One to one care from birth. 2 years+ with main career is important. The highest development rate in humans is 0 to 2 years. The Early years the most important, along with teenage years. Highest physical and brain spurt. Teenagers can be under pressure. One of the highest development period. With possible rash decisions.

    The Westminster colossal interference in the Scottish economy is the problem.

    Overfishing the seas. Use bigger nets, like Norway. Instead of throwing smaller dead fish back. Conservation. EU fishing policy. Use larger nets for higher quotas. Until the Tories ruined it. Brexit.


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