Information

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018 - global competence: results - highlights

The results of the PISA 2018 assessment of Global Competence, showing Scotland’s results and those of other participating states.


Chapter 6: Understanding and appreciating the perspectives and worldviews of others

Key findings

  • Students in Scotland had an above average level of respect for people from other cultures compared to the OECD average
  • Students in Scotland were among the 10 countries/economies out of 66 with the greatest proportions responding positively on attitudes towards immigrants
  • Students in Scotland had a below average interest in learning about other cultures, particularly concerning the religions of the world
  • Girls have a more positive attitude to learning about and respecting other cultures, while boys report greater cognitive adaptability

Students' ability to understand the perspectives of others

39. PISA 2018 asked students to report on their ability to understand different perspectives by responding to five statements. These were combined to produce an index of perspective taking for each country. Positive values in this index indicate a greater ability to understand and take different perspectives than the average student across OECD countries.

40. Table 6.1 shows that students in Scotland were less likely than the OECD average to state that they were able to understand the perspectives of others.

Table 6.1: Proportion of pupils who agreed that the statement was 'very much' or 'mostly like me'
Index of perspective taking
Scotland OECD[3]
I try to look at everybody's side of a disagreement before I take a decision 57.0 59.5
I believe that there are two sides to every question and try to look at them both 58.3 62.7
I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective 62.1 64.5
Before criticising somebody, I try to imagine how I would feel if I were in their place 52.4 55.0
When I'm upset at someone, I try to take the perspective of that person for a while 33.9 40.5
Index of perspective taking -0.07 0.00

Figures in bold represent the figure which is statistically significantly higher (where a statistically significant difference exists)

41. The index of students' ability to understand the perspectives of others varied according to students' characteristics. In all countries and economies except Dominican Republic, girls reported a greater capacity than boys to take others' perspective.

42. Differences in the capacity to understand the perspectives of others were observed between immigrant and native-born students in 10 countries, including Scotland, with immigrant students reporting a greater capacity to understand different pespectives.

Students' interest in learning about other cultures

43. Pupils were asked about their interest in learning about other cultures, including how people live, their religions, and their traditions.

Table 6.2: Proportion of students who answered 'very much' or 'mostly' like to each statement
Index of interest in other cultures
Scotland OECD[4]
I want to learn how people live in different countries 52.3 58.8
I want to learn more about the religions of the world 29.3 40.1
I am interested in how people from various cultures see the world 48.8 54.7
I am interested in finding out about the traditions of other cultures 48.4 54.0
Index of interest in other cultures -0.16 0.00

Figures in bold represent the figure which is statistically significantly higher (where a statistically significant difference exists)

44. An index of students' interest in learning about other cultures was constructed for each country using the above statements. This index showed that pupils in Scotland had a below average interest in learning about other cultures (-0.16), particularly concerning the religions of the world. Girls and socio-economically advantaged students showed greater interest in other cultures than boys and disadvantaged students both internationally and in Scotland.

Respect for people from other cultures

45. PISA 2018 asked students the extent to which they respect people from other cultures:

Table 6.3: Proportion of students who answered 'very much' or 'mostly' like me to each statement
Index of respect for people from other cultures
Scotland OECD[5]
I respect people from other cultures as equal human beings 87.2 82.5
I treat all people with respect regardless of their cultural background 86.3 81.2
I give space to people from other cultures to express themselves 85.1 78.4
I respect the values of people from different cultures 85.2 79.3
I value the opinions of people from different cultures 84.9 77.6
Index of respect for people from other cultures 0.25 0.00

Figures in bold represent the figure which is statistically significantly higher (where a statistically significant difference exists)

46. An index of respect for people from other cultures was constructed for each country using the above statements. This index showed that students in Scotland had an above average respect for people from other cultures (0.25), including respecting their values and opinions. Similar to interest in other cultures, girls and socio-economically advantaged students showed greater respect for other cultures than boys and disadvantaged students both internationally and in Scotland.

Cognitive adaptability

47. PISA 2018 asked students about their ability to adapt to new situations. These were combined to produce an index of cognitive adaptability. Positive values in the index indicate that students have a greater ability to adapt than the average student across OECD countries.

Table 6.4: Proportion of students who answered 'very much' or 'mostly' like me to each statement
Index of cognitive adaptability
Scotland OECD[6]
I can deal with unusual situations 56.9 58.9
I can change my behaviour to meet the needs of new situations 69.2 67.1
I can adapt easily to a new culture 45.4 49.3
When encountering difficult situations with other people, I can think of a way to resolve the situation 56.4 58.7
I am capable of overcoming my difficulties in interacting with people from other cultures 55.0 58.0
Index of cognitive adaptability -0.06 -0.01

Figures in bold represent the figure which is statistically significantly higher (where a statistically significant difference exists)

48. Boys reported greater cognitive adaptability than girls in Scotland and in 28 out of the 65 countries and economies that took part in the questionnaire. Scotland was one of the six countries where the largest gaps in favour of boys were observed. Girls reported greater cognitive adaptability in only six countries. The gender differences suggest girls have a more positive attitude to learning about and respecting other cultures, while boys report greater cognitive adaptability. As well as boys, immigrants and pupils from advantaged backgrounds were more likely to report greater cognitive adaptability.

Students' attitudes towards immigrants

49. Students were asked whether they agree with a series of statements regarding their atittitudes towards immigrants.

Table 6.5: Proportion of students who answered 'very much' or 'mostly' like me to each statement Index of student attitudes towards immigrants
Scotland OECD[7]
Immigrants should have the same rights that everyone else in the country has 87.5 80.2
Immigrants should have the opportunity to continue their own customs and lifestyle 87.0 76.3
Immigrants who live in the country for several years should have the opportunity to vote in elections 85.4 72.3
Immigrant children should have the same opportunities for education that other children in the country have 91.3 85.1
Index of students attitudes towards immigrants 0.34 0.02

Figures in bold represent the figure which is statistically significantly higher (where a statistically significant difference exists)

50. Students in Scotland were among the 10 countries/economies with the most positive attitudes towards immigrants, with values in the index that were higher than average. Girls, immigrants, and students from an advantaged socio-economic status in Scotland were more likely to have a positive attitude towards immigrants.

Contact

Email: keith.dryburgh@gov.scot

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