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Summary statistics for attainment, leaver destinations and healthy living, No. 5: 2015 Edition

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3. Attainment

• 58.8% of leavers left with one or more passes at SCQF level 6 or better - up from 55.8% for 2012/13 • 1.7% of school leavers attained no passes at SCQF level 3 or better - similar to 2012/13 at 1.5% • Around 97% of leavers attained literacy at SCQF level 3 or above. Similarly 97% of leavers attained numeracy at this level

3.1 Qualifications in Scotland are based on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). There are 12 levels on the framework, SCQF levels 1 to 7 are covered by school education. The SCQF levels are shown below for information.

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) levels:

Level 7

Advanced Higher at A-C

Level 6

Higher at A-C

Level 5

Intermediate 2 at A-C; National 5 at A-C; Standard Grade (Credit)

Level 4

Intermediate 1 at A-C; National 4; Standard Grade (General)

Level 3

Access 3; National 3; Standard Grade (Foundation)

Level 2

Access 2; National 2

3.2 The new National qualifications, along with Standard Grades and Intermediates make up SCQF levels 3 to 5. Standard Grades had three award levels: Foundation (SCQF level 3), General (SCQF level 4) and Credit (SCQF level 5). Standard Grades were supplemented with Intermediate 1 (SCQF level 4) and Intermediate 2 (SCQF level 5). Since 2013/14, under CfE, these qualifications are being phased out and replaced with National 3, 4 and 5 qualifications. There were no Standard Grade qualifications available in 2013/14 and Intermediates will cease to exist from 2015/16. Therefore this cohort of leavers is the first to include young people who have taken any of the new National qualifications, but it also includes substantial numbers of leavers who did not take such qualifications.

3.3 Other new qualifications are being introduced, with new Highers from 2014/15 and new Advanced Highers from 2015/16. Further information on the new qualifications can be found at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Education/Schools/curriculum/qualifications

3.4 For most young people S4 is the last compulsory year of school, but the majority will choose to stay on and complete S5 and S6. Highers (SCQF level 6) are generally taken in S5/S6; Highers, sometimes along with Advanced Highers (SCQF level 7, usually taken in S6), are the qualifications required for entry into Higher Education.

3.5 Under CfE, schools and their partners are able to offer greater personalisation and choice in the senior phase (S4 to S6) in a range of ways, for example by: designing the senior phase as a three year experience rather than planning each year separately; delivering qualifications over a variable timeframe in response to young people’s needs and prior achievements; and developing pathways for able learners which by-pass qualifications at lower levels to allow more time to be spent on more challenging learning at higher levels.

3.6 With an increased range of options and pathways available in the senior phase, young people are also taking a range of vocational qualifications, such as National Certificates or Higher National Certificates, alongside their National Qualifications. These can provide a valuable route into FE, HE, training or employment.

3.7 The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) release pre-review results data in August each year, and then post-review data in December. Information is available by level (e.g. Higher) and subject, and also for unit attainment and for wider achievement, for example in SQA Awards. This data is available on the SQA website for all centres and all learners combined (http://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/48269.html). The attainment data used in this publication is based on SQA post-review data and is matched to school leaver destination data and to pupil characteristics.

3.8 Table 4 shows that 39.6 per cent of school leavers, from 2013/14, left with one or more passes at SCQF levels 3 to 5 as their highest qualification. A small proportion (1.7 per cent) of school leavers attained no passes at SCQF level 3 or better, while 58.8 per cent left with one or more passes at Higher or Advanced Higher (SCQF levels 6 and 7).

Table 4. Percentage of school leavers by highest SCQF level at which one or more passes were achieved, 2011/12 to 2013/14

SCQF level

2011/12

2012/13

2013/14

Percentage of Leavers

Percentage of Leavers

Percentage of Leavers

No passes at SCQF 3 or better

1.8

1.5

1.7

SCQF level 3

2.4

2.2

2.0

SCQF level 4

14.3

13.6

11.9

SCQF level 5

25.8

26.9

25.7

SCQF level 6

38.2

38.1

40.0

SCQF level 7

17.6

17.6

18.7

All leavers

49,745

51,647

50,099

3.9 Table 5 shows more information on the attainment of leavers at each SCQF level. It shows the number of awards leavers have at that level or better. This table uses the latest and best method (see background note 2.1), so only a pupils highest achievement in each subject is included. At the majority of SCQF levels and number of awards, the percentage of leavers attaining that level of performance has improved since 2011/12. For example;

  • the percentage of leavers attaining one or more award at SCQF level 5 or better has been increasing (84.4 per cent in 2013/14 – up from 81.6 per cent in 2011/12); and
  • there were also increases in the percentage of leavers attaining greater numbers of awards at SCQF level 6 over that period.

Table 5. Leaver attainment by SCQF level and number of awards achieved at that level or better, percentage of leavers, 2011/12 to 2013/14

2013/14

Number of awards

SCQF Level

1 or more

2 or more

3 or more

4 or more

5 or more

6 or more

7 or more

3 or better

98.3

97.4

96.2

94.9

93.2

90.4

86.3

4 or better

96.3

94.3

92.0

89.2

85.5

80.5

74.1

5 or better

84.4

76.6

70.1

63.8

57.1

49.5

41.5

6 or better

58.8

49.3

42.2

35.8

28.7

18.3

8.5

7

18.7

7.6

2.4

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

2012/13

Number of awards

SCQF Level

1 or more

2 or more

3 or more

4 or more

5 or more

6 or more

7 or more

3 or better

98.5

97.7

96.7

95.7

94.3

92.1

88.1

4 or better

96.3

94.0

91.3

88.0

83.8

78.9

72.6

5 or better

82.7

74.1

67.5

61.3

54.6

47.2

39.2

6 or better

55.8

46.5

39.2

32.8

25.9

16.1

6.8

7

17.6

7.0

2.2

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

2011/12

Number of awards

SCQF Level

1 or more

2 or more

3 or more

4 or more

5 or more

6 or more

7 or more

3 or better

98.2

97.3

96.1

95.1

93.5

91.2

87.0

4 or better

95.8

93.3

90.4

87.0

82.9

78.0

71.8

5 or better

81.6

73.1

66.7

61.0

54.6

47.5

39.8

6 or better

55.8

46.8

39.7

33.4

26.2

16.4

7.0

7

17.6

6.7

2.1

0.2

0.0

0.0

0.0

3.10 By linking with the pupil census, the attainment of leavers can be analysed by pupil characteristics. Table 6 shows that girls are continuing to outperform boys at SCQF level 4 to 6. Pupils recorded as Asian-Chinese continue to have the highest level of achievement, as 91 per cent achieve one or more awards at SCQF level 6 or better. Pupils from less deprived areas continue to reach a higher level of achievement than their more deprived peers. The table shows a general improvement in attainment across the majority of groups.

3.11 Table 6 also suggests that the percentage of all leavers achieving one or more award at SCQF level 4 or better has remained stable at 96.3 per cent, but the percentage of leavers able to achieve an award at a higher SCQF level has increased.

Table 6. Percentage of school leavers by attainment at SCQF level 4 to 6, by pupil characteristic, 2012/13 and 2013/14

Percentage of school leavers attaining

 

2012/13

2013/14

1 or more at SCQF level 4 or better

1 or more at SCQF level 5 or better

1 or more at SCQF level 6 or better

1 or more at SCQF level 4 or better

1 or more at SCQF level 5 or better

1 or more at SCQF level 6 or better

Gender

Male

95.8

81.0

50.6

95.7

82.3

53.6

Female

96.8

84.5

61.1

96.9

86.6

64.1

Ethnicity1

White - Scottish

96.3

82.5

55.2

96.4

84.3

58.2

White - non-Scottish

95.3

83.9

59.9

94.5

83.4

59.8

Mixed or multiple ethnic groups

97.6

88.8

64.1

96.8

89.3

68.4

Asian - Indian

99.0

90.2

70.1

98.0

92.2

73.2

Asian - Pakistani

99.0

88.6

65.3

98.1

90.3

70.1

Asian - Chinese

98.8

95.8

91.0

99.4

97.6

91.1

Asian - Other

98.1

89.6

64.0

97.9

94.0

74.4

African/ Black/ Caribbean2

97.1

89.5

66.0

97.6

93.5

72.6

All other categories3

94.3

83.7

66.0

91.8

80.6

60.4

Not Disclosed/Not known

91.0

73.3

47.7

93.2

78.1

47.6

Urban/Rural

Large Urban Areas

95.7

81.8

54.8

95.8

83.9

58.5

Other Urban Areas

96.2

81.8

55.1

96.1

83.5

57.5

Accessible Small Towns

97.1

83.5

57.2

97.6

86.7

62.3

Remote Small Towns

97.1

84.8

57.1

96.7

85.5

56.9

Accessible Rural

96.5

84.2

56.5

96.6

85.9

63.4

Remote Rural

98.0

89.4

62.6

97.6

88.0

62.0

SIMD4

0-20%

91.8

68.9

34.9

92.3

71.9

39.0

20-40%

95.4

77.6

45.1

95.5

80.3

49.9

40-60%

97.0

83.9

55.8

96.9

85.4

58.2

60-80%

98.1

89.0

65.8

98.1

90.3

67.7

80-100%

99.1

94.2

77.4

98.9

94.7

79.7

Additional Support Needs5

ASN

88.3

59.5

28.0

88.4

63.3

32.3

No ASN

97.8

87.2

61.2

98.1

89.3

64.8

All Leavers

96.3

82.7

55.8

96.3

84.4

58.8

1. The categories used to collect ethnicity and national identity data changed in the 2011 pupil census to agree with the categories used in the main population census. Some categories have been grouped together due to small numbers. Some categories contain between 100-200 leavers.
2. For 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 the 'African/ Black/ Caribbean' category includes 'African', 'African - Other', and the 'Caribbean or Black' categories.
3. 'All other categories' includes 'Other - other' and 'Other - Arab'.
4. Based on SIMD 2012 for 2011/12 and 2012/13. More information on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation can be found at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/SIMD
5. Pupils who have a CSP, IEP or Other Support Plan.

3.12 Literacy and numeracy are key skills for any leaver, irrespective of the destination they are aiming for. Literacy is taken to be the ability to communicate by reading, writing, and listening and talking. Numeracy is defined to be the ability to use numbers in order to solve problems by counting, doing calculations, measuring, and understanding graphs and charts.

3.13 A range of courses are included in the literacy and numeracy measures. They are selected based upon the outcomes and assessment standards for SQA’s literacy and numeracy units at National 3, 4 and 5, with the key criterion being that the main purpose of the qualification or award is to improve literacy and/or numeracy skills. A “best fit” rather than “exact match” approach is used. For example, National 5 or Intermediate 2 courses in English, Gaidhlig and Mathematics will serve as proxy measures for literacy /numeracy at that level.

3.14 Chart 5 shows the percentage of 2013/14 leavers attaining literacy and numeracy at SCQF levels 3 to 5 or above.

3.15 Around 97 per cent of leavers attained literacy at SCQF level 3 or above. Similarly 97 per cent of leavers attained numeracy at this level. At SCQF levels 4 and 5, more leavers attain literacy skills at this level than numeracy skills, 93 per cent of leavers attained literacy at SCQF level 4 whilst only 84 per cent attain numeracy skills at SCQF level 4 or better. There is a similar trend at SCQF level 5 or above, with 70 per cent of leavers attaining literacy at SCQF level 5 or above, whilst only 60 attain this level in numeracy. Comparing with the attainment of 2012/13 leavers, the percentage attaining literacy and numeracy at SCQF level 5 or above has increased (from 67 to 70 per cent of leavers for literacy and 57 to 60 per cent for numeracy across this period).The percentage attaining these skills at SCQF level 3 remained similar between 2012/13 and 2013/14.

3.16 Trends for literacy and numeracy may be slightly affected by unit attainment and the replacement of Standard Grades. When looking at achievement in literacy and numeracy, a pass in relevant units (rather than full qualifications, for example) can count as passing literacy or numeracy at that level. Standard Grade courses were not unit based so a pupil would have to pass the course in order to achieve literacy or numeracy at that level, whereas with unit based courses (e.g. Intermediates and Nationals), a pupil who did not pass the course but achieved all the units would be counted as passing literacy or numeracy at that level.

Chart 4. Percentage of leavers attaining SCQF levels 3 to 5 in literacy and numeracy, 2013/14

Chart 4. Percentage of leavers attaining SCQF levels 3 to 5 in literacy and numeracy, 2013/14

Table 7. Leaver attainment in literacy and numeracy by SCQF level and number of qualifications, percentage of leavers, 2011/12 to 2013/14

 

Percentage of leavers achieving

Literacy

Numeracy

2011/121

2012/131

2013/141

2011/121

2012/131

2013/141

SCQF Level 3 or better

96.3

96.9

96.9

96.5

96.9

96.7

SCQF Level 4 or better

92.4

93.3

93.4

79.8

80.7

83.9

SCQF Level 5 or better

66.3

67.2

70.4

56.6

56.6

59.8

1. Caution should be exercised when making comparisons over time. See 3.16 for more information.

3.17 School level information, including attainment on a consistent basis with Insight (a professional benchmarking tool used by local authorities and schools), is available on Parentzone Scotland. This facility on the Education Scotland website replaces Scottish Schools Online, and tends to be updated in spring each year with the most recent post-review data.

(http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/parentzone/myschool/index.asp)