Chapter 3: Attainment
- 61.2 per cent of leavers left with one or more pass at SCQF Level 6 or better – down slightly from 61.7 per cent for 2015/16.
- 2.0 per cent of school leavers attained no passes at SCQF Level 3 or better – the same as 2015/16.
- 96.5 per cent of leavers attained literacy at SCQF Level 3 or above – the same as 2015/16.
- Similarly 96.3 per cent of leavers attained numeracy at this level – up slightly from 2015/16 (96.1 per cent).
3.1 SCQF Framework & National Qualifications
The diagram below illustrates the SQA qualifications and awards that are included in this report. See background note 7.2.1 for more information.
3.2 Attainment of school leavers
Table 4 shows that 36.8 per cent of 2016/17 school leavers left with one or more passes at SCQF Levels 3 to 5 as their highest qualification. A small proportion (2.0 per cent) of school leavers attained no passes at SCQF Level 3 or better, while 61.2 per cent left with one or more passes at Higher or Advanced Higher ( SCQF Levels 6 or 7).
Table 4: Percentage of school leavers by highest SCQF Level achieved, 2012/13 to 2016/17
|No passes at SCQF 3 or better||1.5||1.7||2.1||2.0||2.0|
|SCQF Level 3||2.2||2.0||1.7||1.7||1.7|
|SCQF Level 4||13.6||12.0||11.0||10.7||10.2|
|SCQF Level 5||26.9||26.2||24.9||23.9||24.9|
|SCQF Level 6||38.1||39.8||41.4||42.6||41.9|
|SCQF Level 7||17.6||18.3||18.8||19.1||19.3|
Table 5 shows information on the attainment of leavers at each SCQF Level or better. A time series from 2009/10 to 2016/17 can be found in the supplementary tables at http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/Pub-SS-ALM
Table 5: Leaver attainment by SCQF Level or better and number of passes achieved , percentage of leavers, 2016/17
|SCQF Level||1 pass or more||2 passes or more||3 passes or more||4 passes or more||5 passes or more||6 passes or more||7 passes or more|
|3 or better||98.0||96.6||94.9||93.0||89.9||83.9||70.3|
|4 or better||96.3||94.4||92.5||90.0||86.3||80.2||67.1|
|5 or better||86.1||78.8||72.0||64.6||56.7||48.0||37.6|
|6 or better||61.2||51.6||44.2||37.3||29.9||19.4||9.3|
3.3 School leaver attainment by pupil characteristics
Table 6 shows school leaver attainment by pupil characteristic such as gender and ethnicity. It shows that girls are continuing to outperform boys at SCQF Levels 4 to 6. Pupils recorded as Asian-Chinese continue to have the highest level of achievement, as 90.8 per cent achieved one or more pass at SCQF Level 6 or better.
Table 6 also shows that the percentage of all leavers achieving one or more pass at SCQF Level 4 or better has remained stable at 96.3 per cent; the percentage of leavers that have achieved a pass at SCQF Level 5 has increased slightly (from 85.6 to 86.1 per cent) and, at SCQF Level 6, decreased slightly (from 61.7 to 61.2 per cent).
Table 6: Percentage of school leavers by attainment at SCQF Level 4 to 6, by pupil characteristic, 2015/16 and 2016/17
|1 or more at SCQF Level 4 or better||1 or more at SCQF Level 5 or better||1 or more at SCQF Level 6 or better||1 or more at SCQF Level 4 or better||1 or more at SCQF Level 5 or better||1 or more at SCQF Level 6 or better|
|White - Scottish||96.3||85.4||61.1||96.3||85.8||60.5|
|White - non-Scottish||96.1||85.6||62.3||95.4||86.2||61.8|
|Mixed or multiple ethnic groups||96.4||88.9||72.2||97.3||90.2||71.8|
|Asian - Indian||98.7||94.2||76.5||99.2||94.5||79.5|
|Asian - Pakistani||99.0||92.1||73.2||98.5||93.5||75.0|
|Asian - Chinese||99.5||96.4||91.8||99.5||98.9||90.8|
|Asian - Other||97.8||92.2||76.9||98.2||93.6||77.6|
|African/ Black/ Caribbean 2||99.7||95.4||76.6||97.9||94.8||75.9|
|All other categories 3||94.3||82.9||61.7||95.8||86.5||66.2|
|Not Disclosed/Not known||93.6||79.9||55.7||92.0||74.5||50.6|
|Large Urban Areas||96.1||85.4||62.1||95.9||86.1||62.2|
|Other Urban Areas||96.2||84.9||60.2||96.0||84.6||58.7|
|Accessible Small Towns||96.8||86.9||64.2||96.8||87.1||63.7|
|Remote Small Towns||96.1||86.2||60.8||96.0||85.3||57.3|
|0-20% (Most Deprived)||92.8||74.4||42.7||92.8||75.5||43.0|
|80-100% (Least Deprived)||98.8||94.7||81.2||98.7||94.8||80.6|
|Percentage point gap||6.1||20.3||38.5||5.9||19.3||37.6|
|Additional Support Needs 5|
1. The categories used to collect ethnicity and national
identity in the 2011 pupil census to agree with the categories used
in the main population census. Some categories have been grouped
together due to small numbers. Some categories contain between
2. For 2015/16 and 2016/17 the 'African/ Black/ Caribbean' category includes 'African', 'African - Other', and 'Caribbean or Black' categories.
3. For 2015/16 and 2016/17, 'All other categories' includes 'Other - other' and 'Other - Arab'.
4. Based on SIMD 2012 for 2015/16 and SIMD 2016 for 2016/17. More information on the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation can be found at: http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/SIMD .
5. Pupils who have a CSP, IEP, Child's Plan are assessed or declared disabled or have another need.
3.4 School leaver attainment by SIMD
In 2017 the Scottish Government consulted on proposals for measuring the poverty related attainment gap and milestones towards closing it; focusing on the impact of the education system as a whole and using a range of measures that reflect key stages of the learner journey and the breadth of issues that can impact on attainment. The outcome was a basket of 11 key measures (supported by 15 sub-measures), three of which are based on school leaver attainment, namely:
- The proportion of leavers attaining 1 or more pass at SCQF Level 4 or above
- The proportion of leavers attaining 1 or more pass at SCQF Level 5 or above
- The proportion of leavers attaining 1 or more pass at SCQF Level 6 or above
Chart 3: Percentage of school leavers by attainment at SCQF Level 4 to 6, by SIMD 1 quintile, 2015/16 and 2016/17
1. Based on SIMD 2012 for 2015/16 and SIMD 2016 for 2016/17.
Chart 4 shows that the proportion of leavers attaining one or more pass at SCQF Level 5 has increased for both leavers from the most deprived areas and the least deprived areas; this has led to a reduction in the gap from 20.3 to 19.3 percentage points.
With respect to attainment at SCQF Level 4, the gap has reduced due to a decrease in the proportion of leavers from least deprived areas attaining one or more pass at SCQF Level 4. At SCQF Level 6, the gap has reduced due to a decrease in the proportion of leavers from least deprived areas attaining 1 or more pass at SCQF Level 6 and an increase for most deprived leavers.
3.5 Literacy and numeracy
A range of courses are included in the measure of literacy and numeracy attainment, the full range is set out in background note 7.2.1.
Chart 5 shows the percentage of 2016/17 leavers attaining literacy and numeracy at SCQF Levels 3 to 5 or above. At SCQF Level 3 or above, 96.5 per cent of leavers attained literacy; 96.3 per cent of leavers attained numeracy at this level. At SCQF Levels 4 and 5, more leavers attain literacy skills at these levels than numeracy skills; 94.4 per cent of leavers attained literacy at SCQF Level 4 or better whilst 90.7 per cent attain numeracy skills at SCQF Level 4 or better. Similarly, 80.8 per cent of leavers attaining literacy at SCQF Level 5 or above, whilst 68.8 per cent attain this level in numeracy.
Chart 4: Percentage of leavers attaining SCQF Levels 3 to 5 in literacy and numeracy, 2016/17
Table 7: Leaver attainment in literacy and numeracy by SCQF Level, percentage of leavers, 2013/14 to 2016/17 a
|3 or better||96.8||96.5||96.5||96.5||96.7||96.3||96.1||96.3|
|4 or better||93.3||93.9||94.1||94.4||83.8||88.1||89.9||90.7|
|5 or better||70.1||74.6||79.0||80.8||59.5||62.7||66.9||68.8|
a. Caution should be exercised when making comparisons over time. See background note 7.2.1.