Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels 2022-23

An Official Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Official statistics have been released today on school pupils’ Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels (ACEL) in the reading, writing, listening & talking and numeracy ‘organisers’.

The statistics, based on teacher judgement, report on the percentage of school pupils in Primary 1 (P1), Primary 4 (P4), Primary 7 (P7) and Secondary 3 (S3) who have achieved the expected CfE Levels relevant to their stage. The results show:

  • For P1, P4 and P7 pupils combined, more than seven in ten pupils (73 per cent) achieved the expected CfE Level for literacy in 2022/23. This is the highest figure on record and compares to 71 per cent in 2021/22, and to 72 per cent in 2018/19, the last year before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • In numeracy, four-fifths (80 per cent) of primary school pupils (P1, P4 and P7 combined) achieved the expected CfE levels in 2022/23. This is again higher than in any previous year and compares to 78 per cent in 2021/22 and to 79 per cent in 2018/19.
  • Around nine out of ten S3 pupils achieved Third Level or better in each organiser in 2022/23. For literacy, 88 per cent of S3 pupils achieved Third Level or better whilst for numeracy 90 per cent achieved this level. In each case this was higher than in 2021/22. Compared to 2018/19 the proportions were the same or slightly lower.

The statistics also provide information on the gap in attainment between pupils from the most and least deprived areas of Scotland:

  • For both literacy and numeracy the gap between the proportion of primary pupils (P1, P4 and P7 combined) from the most and least deprived areas who achieved the expected level narrowed in 2022/23 compared to 2021/22. For literacy the gap of 20.5 percentage points was the narrowest on record whilst for numeracy the gap of 17 percentage points remained slightly wider than in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.
  • For S3 pupils the attainment gap in literacy at Third Level or better narrowed from 16.3 percentage points in 2021/22 to 13.7 percentage points in 2022/23. This is similar to the level seen in 2018/19. For numeracy the gap reduced to 13.6 percentage points in 2022/23 from 15.0 percentage points in 2021/22 – again the 2022/23 figure is similar to the level seen in 2018/19


Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels 2022/23 contains achievement data based on all pupils in publicly funded Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7 and Secondary 3 classes, and for all pupils based in special schools/units. 

Scotland’s Chief Statistician is also publishing school level data on Achievement of CfE Levels. All school level results will be presented in ten per cent bandings (i.e., under 10%, 10% – under 20% etc.).  To prevent potential disclosure of information relating to individual pupils within schools, any schools in which the relevant cohort contains 20 or fewer pupils will be suppressed. 

The Scottish Government did not collect Achievement of CfE Levels data in 2019/20 due to school closures resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Data for S3 and special school pupils were not collected in 2020/21 due to other pressures on these schools including implementation of the SQA Alternative Certification Model, which was used to award National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers in 2021.

Further information on school statistics can be found on the Scottish Government website.

The figures released today were produced by professionally independent statistical staff in accordance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.


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