Education - National Improvement Framework - enhanced data collection: consultation

A consultation which seeks views on improving the collection of education data to assess progress towards closing the poverty-related attainment gap.

Questions – key measures

In terms of the existing key measures and sub-measures, we believe it is important to retain the existing 11 key measures to ensure that we do not lose the consistent time series which is crucial for tracking the trends and changes in the data on closing the attainment gap over time. There are some suggestions for additional measures set out in the questions below, but this is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Other suggestions will be welcome.

Q1: Our proposals for the key measures of progress towards closing the poverty related attainment gap are based on a number of key principles set out above. Are there any other principles that should be included?

Q2: Should the two sub-measures covering attendance and exclusion at secondary schools be promoted to key measures?

There are currently four sub-measures covering attendance and exclusion in both primary and secondary schools, and there is a clear pattern of higher exclusion rates and lower attendance for children living in the most deprived areas. This is particularly the case at secondary school and prompts the question about whether to promote the two secondary school sub-measures. If children are not at school, then it is far more difficult to take the steps necessary to close the attainment gap.

Q3: Should data on confidence, resilience, and engagement from the new Health and Wellbeing census be included in the basket of measures?

In terms of health and wellbeing, three of the existing key measures already cover the social, emotional, and behavioural development of children and young people, and four of the fifteen sub-measures cover mental wellbeing. However, there will be data collected from the Health and Wellbeing Census which will be included as part of the indicator of educational attainment in the National Performance Framework.

These are:

  • Confidence of children and young people
  • Resilience of children and young people
  • Engagement in extra-curricular activities

Q4: At the moment, the measure of achievement in the senior phase is the National Qualifications achieved by young people at the point which they leave school (SCQF levels 4, 5, and 6 – 1 or more on leaving school). Do we need to add other measures to cover wider achievement and attainment?

Q5: If you answered yes to Q4, some options for consideration are set out below. However, we would also welcome any other suggestions for additional measures:

Option 1

In response to feedback from users, and to improve the evidence base on the attainment of broader achievements and skills as part of the Curriculum for Excellence, a new 'all SQA qualifications' measure has been developed which includes National Qualifications (National Courses, Skills for Work) and other SQA qualifications (Customised Awards, Higher National, National – Workplace, National Certificates, National Progression Awards, Professional Development Awards, Scottish Vocational Qualifications, Ungraded National Courses). Details can be found in section 6.3 of the School Leaver Attainment and Initial Destinations publication. The 'all SQA qualification' measure details the proportion of school leavers who attained a number of passes (e.g. one pass or more, two passes or more etc.) at a given SCQF level or better across all of the qualifications outlined above. One or more combination(s) of passes and SCQF levels could potentially be used.

These statistics are currently labelled as Experimental Statistics, reflecting that they are undergoing development and subject to revision based on informed feedback from users.

Option 2

A measure of attainment in vocational qualifications. Section 6.1 of the School Leaver Attainment and Initial Destinations publication contains a measure covering only 'vocational' qualifications. Unlike the existing NIF key measures on school leaver attainment and the 'all SQA qualifications' measure outlined above, this measure does not include attainment in National Qualifications but focuses on vocational qualifications. Specifically, the measure includes National Certificates, Higher National Qualifications, Scottish Vocational Qualifications, National Progression Awards and Skills for Work. It shows the proportion of school leavers with one pass or more at a given SCQF level. The proportion of school leavers with one pass or more at SCQF level 5 or better is used as a Key Performance Indicator for Developing Scotland's Young Workforce.

Q6: In terms of measuring progress beyond school, should the percentage of school leavers going to a "positive destination" on leaving school be included alongside the participation measure?

Positive destinations for young people leaving school include Higher Education, Further Education, Employment, Training, Voluntary Work and Personal Skills Development (whilst other destinations include unemployed and seeking work, unemployed and not seeking work and unknown).These provide valuable information on the activities being undertaken by school leavers. However, they are based on a snapshot of the activity being undertaken by school leavers on a given day and are not the best indicator of long term sustained success for young people accessing future work or study.

That is why the indicator we have used previously is the Skills Development Scotland Annual Participation Measure, which reports on the wider activity of the 16-19 cohort, including those still at school. This is an indicator of school success in preparing young people for access to future work or study.

Questions - wider data

Q7: What more do we need to do in order to ensure that a wider range of measures are in use across the education system, and that they are valued as equally as traditional attainment measures?

We need to consider the value of the wider data (beyond the key measures which have a specific role in measuring the attainment gap) both qualitative and quantitative data (both of which are included in the National Improvement Framework) and the range of evidence needed by schools, education authorities and at the national level in order to fulfil their different requirements.

Q8: Are the existing wider data collections, and the new data developments enough to ensure that the National Improvement Framework reflects the ambitions of Curriculum for Excellence, national policy priorities such as health and wellbeing and confidence, and key priorities for COVID-19 recovery and improvement, as recommended by Audit Scotland?

Q9: How can we make better use of data to focus and drive improvement activity at school, local, regional and national level?

Q10: How can we make better use of data to help reduce variation in outcomes achieved by young people in different parts of the country?

The current variation in the level of improvement identified by Audit Scotland demonstrates that we need to do more to understand what works to drive improvement across all parts of the education system.



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