Publication - Statistics

Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018: highlights from Scotland's results

Published: 3 Dec 2019
Directorate:
Learning Directorate
Part of:
Economy, Education
ISBN:
9781839603730

Report covering Scotland's performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018, covering reading, maths and science.

66 page PDF

969.3 kB

66 page PDF

969.3 kB

Contents
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2018: highlights from Scotland's results
Main Messages

66 page PDF

969.3 kB

Main Messages

Overall performance

  • Scotland's scores in the 2018 PISA assessments were above the OECD average in reading and similar to the OECD average in maths and science. In the previous survey in 2015, Scotland was similar to the OECD average in reading, maths and science.
  • Scotland's own overall performance compared to 2015 improved in reading and was similar in maths and science.
  • Scotland's relative performance compared to other countries, including UK administrations, improved in reading, stayed similar in science and declined in maths when measured by the number of comparator countries that were above and below Scotland.
  • The proportion of pupils performing at highest levels of achievement ("Level 5 and above") was higher in Scotland than the OECD average in reading and similar in maths and science. The proportion of pupils performing at the lowest levels of achievement ("below Level 2") were lower in Scotland than the OECD average in reading and similar in maths and science.
  • The gradient and strength of relationship between performance and social background was similar to 2015. However, despite an improvement in reading performance, the gradient and strength of relationship remained below the OECD average. The strength of relationship between performance and social background in maths was lower than the OECD average in 2018.

Scotland's performance in reading

  • In reading, Scotland's performance was higher in 2018 than it was in 2015. It is now similar to 2012, 2009, 2006, and 2003 but still lower than 2000.
  • In reading, Scotland's performance in 2018 was above the OECD average. Scotland's performance was previously similar to the OECD average in 2015.
  • The proportion of high performers was higher than in 2015 and above the OECD average. The proportion of low performers was similar to 2015, 2012, 2009 and 2006, and was lower than the OECD average.
  • Scotland's relative position compared to OECD countries and UK administrations improved since 2015 with five countries outperforming Scotland, the lowest number since 2003. Scotland's performance in reading was similar to 11 countries and higher than 22 countries.
  • The strength of relationship between social disadvantage and a pupil's score was lower in Scotland than the OECD average. About 8 per cent of the variation in Scotland could be explained by socio-economic factors. This was similar to the position for reading in 2015 (9 per cent) and 2012 (11 per cent), but less than 2009 (14 per cent). 17 countries had a stronger relationship than Scotland, 20 countries had a similar relationship and one country (Wales) had a weaker relationship.
  • The extent of the relationship between deprivation and reading performance (or "gradient") in Scotland was lower than the OECD average at around 32 points. This is similar to 2015 (32 points) and 2012 (35 points) but better than 2009 (44 points). Scotland's gradient was lower than 16 countries, similar to 20 countries and higher than two countries.

Scotland's performance in maths

  • In maths, Scotland's performance was similar to 2015, 2012 and 2009 but lower than 2006 and 2003. Scores in 2000 were not comparable.
  • In maths, Scotland's performance in 2018 was similar to the OECD average. This has been the case in each PISA round since 2006.
  • The proportion of low performers in Scotland was similar to 2015, but higher than in 2012. It was similar to the OECD average. The proportion of high performers was similar to every PISA round since 2006 and similar to the OECD average.
  • Scotland's relative position compared to OECD countries and UK administrations declined since 2015, with 18 countries outperforming Scotland and seven performing below Scotland. Scotland's performance was similar to 14 countries.
  • The strength of relationship between social disadvantage and a pupil's score in Scotland was lower than the OECD average. About 8 per cent of the variation in Scotland could be explained by socio-economic factors. This was similar to the position for maths in 2015 (11 per cent) and 2012 (13 per cent), but represents an improvement on 2009 (16 per cent). 18 countries had a stronger relationship than Scotland, 21 had a similar relationship and no countries had a weaker relationship.
  • The extent to which disadvantage was related to performance (or "gradient") in Scotland was similar to the average across OECD countries and amounted to around 31 points. This is similar to 2015 and 2012, but still represents an improvement on 2009 when the effect of deprivation was larger (45 points). Scotland's gradient was lower than nine countries, similar to 30 countries and higher than no countries.

Scotland's performance in science

  • In science, Scotland's performance was similar to 2015 and lower than 2012, 2009 and 2006. Scores for previous rounds (2000 and 2003) were not comparable.
  • In science, Scotland's performance in 2018 was similar to the OECD average. This was also the case in 2015, but in 2012, 2009 and 2006 it was higher than the OECD average.
  • The proportion of low performers in Scotland was similar to 2015, but higher than 2012. It was similar to the OECD average. The proportion of high performers was similar to 2015 and 2012 and was similar to the OECD average, but was lower than 2009 and 2006.
  • Scotland's relative position compared to OECD countries and UK administrations was similar to 2015, with 13 countries outperforming Scotland and 11 performing below Scotland. Scotland's performance was similar to 15 countries.
  • The strength of relationship between social disadvantage and a pupil's score in Scotland was similar to the OECD average. About 10 per cent of the variation in Scotland could be explained by socio-economic factors. This was similar to 2015 and 2012, but an improvement on 2009 (16 per cent). Nine countries had a stronger relationship than Scotland, 30 had a similar relationship and no countries had a weaker relationship.
  • The extent to which disadvantage was related to performance (or "gradient") in Scotland was also similar to the average across OECD countries and amounts to around 36 points. This is similar to 2015 and 2012 but still represents an improvement on 2009 when the effect of deprivation was larger (47 points). Scotland's gradient was lower than four countries, similar to 30 countries and higher than five countries.

Contact

Email: keith.dryburgh@gov.scot