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New Light on Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland: Evidence from the 2004 survey of the 1970 British Cohort Study (BCS70)

DescriptionThis report gives the results of a separate analysis for Scotland of literacy and numeracy data collected in the 1970 British Cohort Study at age 34. It relates performance in these skills to a wide range of other features of Scottish cohort members' lives.
ISBNISBN 978 0 7559
Official Print Publication DateJanuary 2008
Website Publication DateJanuary 22, 2008


A Report commissioned by the Scottish Government, Lifelong Learning Directorate
ISBN 978 0 7559 1637 5 (Web only publication)
This document is available in pdf format (412k). There is also a summary of the report.




A word about comparing levels between Scotland and England

Executive Summary

Chapter 1 Introduction
Introduction to Britain's birth cohort studies
BCS70 in detail
The Scottish sample
What's covered in the report

Chapter 2 Self-reported reading, writing and number difficulties
Levels of self-reporting reading, writing or numberwork difficulties in Scotland
Literacy and numeracy learning and the wish to improve skills
Summary self-reported difficulties

Chapter 3 Assessment of literacy and numeracy skills in Scotland
Calculation of overall scores
Converting performance in literacy and numeracy assessments into levels
Literacy and numeracy levels in Scotland
Summary of assessed Literacy and Numeracy Levels in Scotland

Chapter 4 Early life experiences - family background, socio-economic disadvantage and family support measures
Family background
Socio-economic disadvantage during childhood
Overcrowding and housing
Financial circumstances
Family support factors
Parental education
Reading by parents to their child
Watching television and reading
Parental interest in their child's education
Parents held post-16 education aspirations for their child?
Summary of family background and family support factors

Chapter 5 Early education performance and school environment
Cognitive and educational achievement assessment
Age 5
Age 10
Identification of difficulties
What did parents think of their child's reading, writing and grasp of numbers?
Teachers view of child's ability at age 10
What did the cohort member think of their own skills?
School factors
Attendance at pre-school
Type of school at age 10
Summary of early education performance and school environment

Chapter 6 Post-16 education and learning experiences
Leaving full-time education and gaining qualifications
Relationship between assessed skills difficulties, an awareness of these difficulties and a wish to improve skills
Reading practices
Symptoms associated with dyslexia
Relationship with literacy and numeracy
Awareness of learning needs
Inclusion in the digital revolution?
Summary of education and learning post-16

Chapter 7 Working life and economic disadvantage
Age of first job
Working Life
Men: employment between age 16 to 34
Men: current employment and occupation at age 34
Women: employment between age 16 to 34
Women: employment and occupation at age 34
Financial Circumstances
Summary employment and economic disadvantage

Chapter 8 Home, local environment and community participation
Leaving the family home for the first time
Moving On
Housing conditions at age 34
Local environment and community participation
Community and social participation
Summary home, local environment and community participation

Chapter 9 Family life and well-being
Relationships and parenthood
First live-in partnership
Family living at age 34
Becoming a parent
Different partnerships
Health and well being
Health related practices
Psychological well-being
Summary family life and well-being

Chapter 10 Concluding remarks

References and further reading

Key to comparison of Levels between Scotland and England. SCQF Access Level 2 (AL2) = NQF Entry Level 2 (or below); SCQF Access Level 3 (AL3) = NQF Entry Level 3; SCQF Level 4 (L4) = NQF Level 1; SCQF Level 5 (L5) = NQF Level 2 (or higher).

Samantha Parsons and John Bynner

National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy
Institute of Education
20 Bedford Way