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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 7: Ability to engage in open, appropriate and effective communication across cultures

Key findings

  • Compared to the OECD average, students in Scotland were more likely to have contact with people from other countries in their family or at school, but less likely to have contact in their neighbourhood
  • Across all countries and economies, including Scotland, girls reported greater awareness of intercultural communication than boys.

Awareness of intercultural communication

51. PISA 2018 asked students to describe their awareness of intercultural communications. They were asked to respond to seven statements related to the following hypothetical scenario: "Imagine you are talking in your native language to people whose native language is different from yours." Answers were given on a four-point scale - "strongly disagree", "disagree", "agree", "strongly agree" - and were combined into the index of awareness of intercultural communication. A positive value in this index indicates that students have a greater awareness of intercultural communication than the average student across OECD countries.

Table 7.1 Proportion of students who disagreed/agreed that, when talking to people whose native language is different from theirs, they do the following:
Index of awareness of intercultural communication
Scotland OECD[8]
I carefully observe their reactions 84.9 82.2
I frequently check that we are understanding each other correctly 85.4 84.4
I listen carefully to what they say 91.3 88.0
I choose my words carefully 83.2 79.8
I give concrete examples to explain my ideas 81.6 80.8
I explain things very carefully 82.1 77.7
If there is a problem with communication, I find ways around it 84.7 84.9
Index of awareness of intercultural communication 0.00 0.00

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

52. Students in Scotland were more likely to agree to the majority of the statements compared to the average for OECD countries, such as explaining things or choosing words carefully.

53. Across all countries and economies, including Scotland, girls reported greater awareness of intercultural communication than boys. Advantaged students in all countries and economies report greater awareness of intercutural communication than disadvantaged students did. In Scotland, immigrant students reported greater awareness than non-immigrant students.

Contact with people from other countries

54. Students were asked a binary yes-or-no question about whether they have contact with people from other countries at school, in their family, in their neighbourhood and in their circle of friends.

Table 7.2: Proportion of students who reported that they have contact with people from other countries
Scotland OECD[9]
In their family 65.8 54.3
At school 57.6 53.1
In their neighbourhood 29.9 38.3
In their circle of friends 64.5 62.7

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

55. Compared to the OECD average, students in Scotland were more likely to have contact with people from other countries in their family or at school, but less likely to have contact in their neighbourhood. Almost two-thirds (64.5%) of students in Scotland reported having contact with people from other countries in their circle of friends.

56. Girls in Scotland were more likely than boys to report contact with people from another country in their family (69% compared to 63%) and in their circle of friends (68% compared to 61%), whereas boys were more likely to report contact at school (60% compared to 55%). Students from more advantaged backgrounds were more likely to have contact with people from another country in their family, at school and in their circle of friends, but contact was similar across backgrounds in local neighbourhoods.

57. OECD analysis found significant and positive associations between having contact with people from other countries and students' attitudes and dispositions in most countries and economies. The indices that were highly associated with contact with people from other countries are: students' cognitive adaptability, self-efficacy regarding global issues, and interest in learning about other cultures.

Contact

Email: keith.dryburgh@gov.scot

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