Monday, 4 May 2015

Scottish survey of literacy

The Scottish Standing Literacy Commission published an interim progress report on the "Literacy Action Plan (LAP) on 12 September 2012, at a UN International Literacy Day celebration event in Edinburgh attended by HRH Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands, the UN’s Special Envoy for Literacy and Chair of the EU High Level Group on Literacy." [This should come as no surprise since 
The United Nations is driving changes in education worldwide.]

According to the Scottish Government: "The interim report captured the wide range of good, more joined-up work that was going on – from early years through school and colleges to adult literacies – to improve literacy and close the attainment gap. Taken together, the available data and evidence point to a generally improving picture for literacy levels in Scotland from early years, through schools and colleges to adult learning... However, the stand-out issue, where more progress needs to be made, is the gap in attainment between the most and least disadvantaged young people. "

As far as the Scottish Survey of Literacy and Numeracy is concerned, whose report was published on 29 April 2015, the gap in attainment has not altered.

"Across all stages assessed, the proportion of pupils who performed well or very well at the relevant curriculum level was slightly lower in 2014 than 2012. In P4, there was a five percentage point difference between the two surveys, as the proportion of pupils performing well or very well at the First Level decreased from 83 per cent in 2012 to 78 per cent in 2014."

"The smallest change was in P7, where the proportion of pupils performing well or very well at Second Level decreased from 90 per cent in 2012 to 88 per cent in 2014. As with the other stages, this change was statistically significant. There was a four percentage point change in S2 performance, down from 84 per cent in 2012 to 80 per cent in 2014."

"For all stages, the lower performance in 2014 was attributable to a decrease in pupils performing very well at their relevant curriculum level in 2014 compared to 2012."

It is not possible to read too much into this but there is certainly no evidence of any improvement in literacy. It is the opinion of Education Scotland that: "The aspiration that teachers of all subjects should help drive up literacy is a long way from being realised."

And they go on to say: "Although Curriculum for Excellence makes it clear that this objective should be a priority shared beyond English departments, schools are missing many opportunities to raise literacy standards in other subject areas." .

"The Education Scotland report acknowledges that young people now have more opportunities to improve their literacy in different areas of the curriculum and staff are aware they have a duty to promote this. But it adds: "Across all sectors, there are still too many missed opportunities to develop and extend children’s and young people’s literacy skills and deepen learning."

There is no thought that other changes in the curriculum might be making it difficult to improve literacy in the different areas, or how a maths teacher is supposed to help with essay writing.
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