Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) 2016 (Literacy)

A National Statistics Publication for Scotland.

Literacy results from the 2016 Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy have been published by Scotland’s Chief Statistician today.

As in previous surveys, the majority of P4, P7 and S2 pupils are performing well or very well in reading, with around four in five pupils in both P4 and S2, and around nine in ten P7 pupils reaching this level. In both P4 and P7, reading performance was slightly lower than in 2012, whereas performance in S2 remains similar to 2012.

The figures also indicate that almost around two-thirds of P4 and P7 writing assessments demonstrate pupils performing well, very well or beyond the relevant level for their stage. At S2, 49% of scripts demonstrate pupils are performing well, very well or beyond the level. Performance in P4 is similar to that in 2012, whereas P7 and S2 show declines over the period.

In listening and talking, three in five P4 pupils, two thirds of P7 pupils, and around half of S2 pupils are working well, very well or beyond the level. These are similar to the 2014 results.

Girls outperformed boys at P7 and S2 in reading, and at all three stages in writing. For listening and talking, the only stage at which there was a gender gap was P7, where girls again outperformed boys. Pupils from the least deprived areas continue to demonstrate stronger performance compared to the most deprived pupils in all aspects of literacy at all stages.


The SSLN is an annual sample survey which monitors national performance in literacy and numeracy in alternate years, for school pupils at P4, P7 and S2. Around 10,000 pupils in 2,250 schools took part in the survey in 2016.

This is the final set of results from the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy. The replacement data source of pupil performance in literacy and numeracy is the Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels Return; the results of the 2015/16 collection were published on 13 December 2016.

SSLN results are used by Scottish Government to monitor performance in literacy and numeracy over time. Further in-depth analysis of the results is also conducted which inform resources for practitioners to facilitate improvements in learning, teaching and assessment at classroom level.

Official statistics are produced by professionally independent statistical staff in line with standards of official statistics in Scotland.

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