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
6. Performance in Science

66 page PDF

969.3 kB

6. Performance in Science

6.1 Scotland's performance in Science

1. Scotland's mean score in Science in 2018 was 490. This was similar to what it was in 2015 (497), but lower than in 2012 (513), 2009 (514) and 2006 (515). See Chart 6.1.1 for more information.

2. Scotland's standard deviation in Science in 2018 was 98 points. This was similar to 2015 (95 points), 2009 (96 points) and 2006 (100 points) but higher than 2012 (89 points).

3. In 2018 in Scotland, girls and boys had a similar performance in Science (486 vs 494). This was also the case in 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2015 (Chart 6.1.2 and Chart 6.1.3).

4. In 2018, the performance of first generation immigrant students (509), second generation immigrant students (502) and non-immigrant students (491) was similar.

5. In 2018, 21.1 per cent of students in Scotland performed below PISA Level 2 in Science. This was similar to 2015, but higher than 2006, 2009 and 2012. In 2018, 7.2 per cent of students in Scotland performed at PISA Level 5 or better in Science. This was similar to 2012 and 2015 but lower than 2006 and 2009 (Chart 6.1.4).

6. In 2018 the proportion of girls and boys performing below PISA Level 2 in Science was similar (21.4 per cent of girls and 20.7 per cent of boys). The proportion performing at PISA Level 5 or better was also similar (6.0 per cent of girls and 8.5 per cent of boys).

7. The share of variation in Science test scores that was explained by students' background was 10.1 per cent. This was similar to 2015, 2012 and 2006 but lower than 2009 (16.4 per cent).

8. The ESCS gradient shows how much score varies on average with each step (one point) in social background. The ESCS gradient was 36 points in the science assessment for Scotland. This was similar to 2012 (36 points) and 2015 (37 points), but lower than in 2009 (47 points) and 2006 (50 points).

9. The difference between the 5th and 95th percentiles by ESCS was 2.72 points. Combined with a 36-point gradient, this implies that their average scores in mathematics are apart by 98 points which implies a difference of just over three years' schooling.

Chart 6.1.1 Scotland's PISA science scores, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.1 Scotland's PISA science scores, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.2 Scotland's PISA science scores among girls, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.2 Scotland's PISA science scores among girls, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.3 Scotland's PISA science scores among boys, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.3 Scotland's PISA science scores among boys, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.4 Scotland's science scores, by PISA Proficiency Level, 2006-2018

Chart 6.1.4 Scotland's science scores, by PISA Proficiency Level, 2006-2018

As set out in Chapter 2, the OECD categorise students into Levels according to their ability to undertake certain tasks. However the group below Level 2 merits particular attention, as the OECD consider that Level 2 is the baseline of ability to participate effectively in society.

In 2018, 21.1 per cent of students in Scotland performed below PISA Level 2 in Science. This was similar to 2015, but higher than 2006, 2009 and 2012. In 2018, 7.2 per cent of students in Scotland performed at PISA Level 5 or better in Science. This was similar to 2012 and 2015 but lower than 2006 and 2009.

6.2 Scotland's performance in Science relative to countries in the OECD and UK administrations

1. Scotland's mean score in Science in 2018 of 490 was higher than 11 countries, including Iceland (475) and Italy (468). It was similar to 15 countries, including Northern Ireland (491), Wales (488) and the OECD average (489). It was lower than 13 countries, including England (507) and the UK as a whole (505). See Chart 6.2.1 for more information. Comparisons to non-OECD countries can be found on our new PISA dashboard.

2. Scotland's mean score in Science among girls in 2018 was higher than eight countries, similar to 15 countries and lower than 16 countries (Chart 6.2.2).

3. Scotland's mean score in Science among boys in 2018 was higher than 11 countries, similar to 20 countries and lower than eight countries (Chart 6.2.3).

4. Scotland's gender gap in Science of -8 points (girls – boys) was lower than 13 countries, similar to 26 countries, the OECD average and the UK as a whole and higher than no countries.

5. In 2018, second generation immigrant students in Scotland (502) performed higher than or similar to all OECD countries in Mathematics, with only Singapore and Macao (China) of the non-OECD countries having a higher performance than Scotland. Performance among first generation immigrant students in Scotland (509) was also higher than or similar to all OECD countries in Mathematics.

6. In 2018, 21.1 per cent of students in Scotland performed below PISA Level 2 in Science. This was higher than 10 countries and also higher than the UK as a whole. It was similar to 19 countries and the OECD average and lower than 10 countries (Chart 6.2.4). 7.2 per cent of students in Scotland performed at PISA Level 5 or better in Science. This was lower than 10 countries and the UK as a whole, similar to 16 countries and the OECD average and higher than 13 countries (Chart 6.2.5).

7. The share of variation in science test scores that was explained by students' background was 10.1 per cent (Chart 6.2.6). Among OECD countries and UK administrations, this was lower than nine countries, similar to 30 countries and higher than no countries.

8. The ESCS gradient shows how much score varies on average with each step (one point) in social background. The ESCS gradient was 36 points in the science assessment for Scotland (Chart 6.2.7). Among OECD countries and UK administations, this was lower than four countries, similar to 30 countries and higher than five countries, including Wales (24 points).

Chart 6.2.1 PISA science scores of OECD countries (plus three other UK administrations), relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.1 PISA science scores of OECD countries (plus three other UK administrations), relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.2 PISA science scores among girls in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.2 PISA science scores among girls in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.3 PISA science scores among boys in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.3 PISA science scores among boys in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.4 Proficiency Levels in Science in OECD countries, arranged by percentage of students below Level 2, 2018

Chart 6.2.4 Proficiency Levels in Science in OECD countries, arranged by percentage of students below Level 2, 2018

In 2018, 21.1% of students in Scotland performed below PISA Level 2 in Science. This was higher (^) than 10 countries and the UK as a whole, similar to 19 countries and the OECD average and lower (*) than 10 countries.

Chart 6.2.5 Proficiency Levels in Science in OECD countries, arranged by percentage of students at Level 5 or better, 2018

Chart 6.2.5 Proficiency Levels in Science in OECD countries, arranged by percentage of students at Level 5 or better, 2018

In 2018, 7.2% of students in Scotland performed at PISA Level 5 or better in Science. This was higher (*) than 13 countries, similar to 16 countries and the OECD average and lower (^) than 10 countries and the UK as a whole.

Chart 6.2.6 Share of variation in Science performance explained by ESCS in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.6 Share of variation in Science performance explained by ESCS in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.7 ESCS gradient in Science in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018

Chart 6.2.7 ESCS gradient in Science in OECD countries, relative to Scotland, 2018


Contact

Email: keith.dryburgh@gov.scot