Achievement of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) Levels 2015-16

This contains the results of the achievement of curriculum for excellence (CfE) levels data collection.

This document is part of a collection

Chapter 10: Background notes

10.1 Sources and coverage

The data included in the publication are provided to Scottish Government by Local Authorities and Grant Aided Schools. Independent schools are not included in the data collection. The assessments of children's progress which the data report are undertaken by teachers in schools. A copy of the specification issued to data providers can be found here.

The data covers pupils in Primary 1, Primary 4, Primary 7 and Secondary 3 in mainstream schools and all pupils based in special schools/units. Data was provided for 222,300 pupils. Teacher judgements cover the three aspects of literacy (reading, writing, and listening and talking) and numeracy. The data relate to achievement as at June 2016 (at, or near, the end of the 2015/16 school year). Children for whom the teacher has been unable to make a professional judgement are not included in the published results (less than 1.5 per cent of pupils).

To reduce burden on data providers, as per the Code of Practice for Official Statistics, the contextual information was added to the school returns by using previously collected data. Pupil data were matched to the Pupil Census 2015. From this census the following variables were added:

  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Additional Support Needs

The Pupil Census data was then linked to the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation 2016 (SIMD) and the 6-fold Urban Rural Classification 2013-2014. Around three per cent of records could not be matched to the SIMD or the Urban Rural Classification; these are presented under category 'Unknown' in the publication tables.

A very small proportion of children have long term significant and complex additional support needs that mean that it is unlikely that they will progress through the CfE levels during their time in education. These children are included within the data as 'child following individual milestones'.

Data was returned from all schools within scope for the collection. There were a small number of pupils for whom data was not supplied, or for whom data was not provided for all components requested. In addition, some special schools did not submit all required data correctly (see Section 1.4) leading to data for fewer pupils than was intended in those schools.

10.2 School level data

School level results are also being published alongside this publication. They are available online via this link. Data will be published for all publicly funded primary and secondary schools (but not special schools) subject to data protection limitations (see below).

For primary schools, the published results will be combined results for P1, P4 and P7 pupils (rather than separately for each stage). The results therefore represent the proportion of pupils in the school who have reached the appropriate CfE level for their stage.

For secondary schools, the published results will be based on achievement of CfE Third level or better.

All school level results will be presented in ten per cent bandings (i.e. under 10 per cent, 10 per cent - under 20 per cent, … , 90 per cent or more). 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. This means that around 19 per cent of primary schools and five per cent of secondary schools will have no information published for them. This rate will vary from year to year depending on changes in individual school rolls.

As with the national and Local Authority level data, all school results include 'children working towards individual milestones' in calculating the results. However, children who were recorded as 'Not Assessed' are not included in the calculations.

The quality limitations described in Section 1.6 also apply to school level data. There is greater likelihood that an individual school's results are affected by variations in assessment approach, socio-economic context and school size (for example) than is the case at the more aggregated Local Authority or Scotland level. On that basis, we would at this stage advise against making direct comparisons between schools. The publication online does not allow direct, on-screen comparisons of schools.

10.3 Supplementary tables

The collection involves a huge amount of data which cannot be summarised in this publication. This report seeks to highlight the key messages and give a flavour of the range of analysis possible. Detailed tables are published as supporting tables alongside this publication, and provide a fuller picture of the findings.

The tables within this report and school level information can be found at:

10.3 Further information on attainment

There is a range of other reliable information on the performance of Scotland's school pupils.

The Scottish Government also publishes analysis of school leaver attainment (qualifications) destinations. The latest post-appeal data are available at

Scotland participates in the OECD's triennial Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey. This assessment is carried out by 15 year-olds in over sixty countries, including all OECD countries, and as such is a key international benchmark of performance. The results of previous PISA surveys are available at

The Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy (SSLN) assesses literacy and numeracy performance, in alternate years, of P4, P7 and S2 pupils between 2011 and 2016. More information on the SSLN is available at

For updates on new education statistics, any forthcoming changes to education statistical publications and stakeholder consultations please register with Scotstat at the following website:

Media enquiries about the information in this Statistics Publication Notice should be addressed to: Chris Mackie, Tel: +44(0) 131 244 2557


Back to top