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 8: Taking action for collective well-being and sustainable development

Key findings

  • A higher proportion of students in Scotland (81.4%) reported thinking of themselves as a citizen of the world than the OECD average (76.2%)
  • Almost two-thirds of students in Scotland (64.2%) reduce the amount of energy that they use at home to protect the environment
  • Girls, students from advantaged backgrounds, and immigrant students in Scotland reported taking more actions for sustainability and wellbeing

A sense of agency regarding global issues

58. PISA 2018 asked students the extent to which they agree ("strongly disagree", "disagree", "agree", "strongly agree") with six statements relating to their sense of agency regarding global issues. Responses to these statements were combined to create the index of agency regarding global issues. Positive values in this index indicate that students have a greater sense of global-mindedness than the average student across OECD countries.

Table 8.1: Proportion of students who agreed with the following statements:
Index of global mindedness
Scotland OECD[10]
I think of myself as a citizen of the world 81.4 76.2
When I see the poor conditions that some people in the world live under, I feel a responsibility to do something about it 66.4 67.3
I think my behaviour can impact people in other countries 52.7 56.0
It is right to boycott companies that are known to provide poor workplace conditions for their employees 70.4 66.3
I can do something about the problems of the world 54.4 57.5
Looking after the global environment is important to me 71.6 77.9
Index of global mindedness -0.05 0.00

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

59. Compared to the OECD average, pupils in Scotland were more likely to think of themselves as a citizen of the world and to agree that it is right to boycott companies that are known to provide poor workplace conditions for their employees. Girls, immigrant students and those from a more advantaged background were more likely to have positive scores for global mindedness.

Capacity to take action

60. PISA 2018 assessed students' willingness to take action using a series of eight yes-or-no statements. The statements covered topics related to environmental protection, gender equality, and staying informed about international and social issues, such as poverty and human rights.

Table 8.2: Proportion of students who reported that they take the following actions:
Scotland OECD[11]
I reduce the energy I use at home to protect the environment 64.2 70.6
I choose certain products for ethical or environmental reasons, even if they are a bit more expensive 33.2 45.3
I sign environmental or social petitions online 21.5 25.4
I keep myself informed about world events via Twitter or Facebook 78.0 64.0
I boycott products or companies for political, ethical or environmental reasons 19.2 26.8
I participate in activities promoting equality between men and women 24.6 32.8
I participate in activities in favour of environmental protection 21.4 38.5
I regularly read websites on international social issues 42.3 46.4

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

61. Students in Scotland participate in a range of actions to protect the environment, including reducing the energy used at home (64.2%), choosing certain products for enivronmental reasons (33%), signing petitions online (21.5%), and boycotting products (19.2%). However, they were less likely than the OECD average to do so. One action that students were more likely than the OECD average to take was to keep informed about world events via Twitter or Facebook (78%).

62. Table 8.3 shows the average number of actions taken by different groups for sustainability and collective wellbeing:

Table 8.3: Number of actions taken by students, by gender, students' socio-demographic profile and immigration status
Scotland OECD[12]
Gender
Girls 3.25 3.56
Boys 2.81 3.40
PISA Index of economic, social and cultural status
First quarter (most disadvantaged) 2.79 3.26
Second quarter 2.85 3.40
Third quarter 3.11 3.52
Fourth Quarter (least disadvantaged) 3.50 3.72
Immigration status
Non-immigrant students 3.01 3.46
Immigrant students 3.31 3.54

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

63. In 26 countries and economies, boys reported a greater number of actions taken for sustainability and collective wellbeing. The reverse was true in 17 countries, including Scotland. Both boys and girls in Scotland reported taking fewer actions than the OECD average for their gender.

64. Students from a more advantaged background reported taking a greater number of actions in both Scotland and across the OECD, while immigrant students report a greater number than non-immigrant students.

Contact

Email: keith.dryburgh@gov.scot

Back to top