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SQA Attainment and School Leaver Qualifications in Scotland: 2006/07


Main Findings

The main findings are:


  • Cumulative attainment has remained stable in recent years. Attainment is greater for females than males in all stages and in all categories. (Tables 2-5)
  • Of the pupils in S4 in 2004/05, 34 per cent had gained 5 or more awards at SCQF level 5 or better by the end of that year. This had increased to 47 per cent by the end of 2006/07. (Table 5)

Calculating an average tariff score for each pupil (see note 3.7) allows easier comparisons of different types of qualifications. The findings for S4 pupils in 2006/07 were as follows:

  • Pupils registered for free school meals scored less on average than those who were not. Similarly, pupils who live in the 15% most deprived data zones had lower average tariff scores than those in the other 85% of data zones. (Table 6)
  • Pupils attending schools in rural areas had higher average tariff scores than pupils attending urban schools. (Table 6)
  • Data on looked after children is incomplete and may not be representative of all looked after children (see background note 4.4). However, the information available suggests that looked after children have much lower average tariff scores than those not looked after. Furthermore looked after children without additional support needs ( ASN) have a lower average tariff score than pupils who are not looked after but do have ASN. (Table 6)
  • Chinese, Mixed Race and Indian pupils in S4 attained the highest average tariff scores over the last three years. (Table 8)

Special Schools:

  • There has been a slight increase in the number of qualifications gained in special schools, due to an increase at SCQF level 2, as well as a slight increase in the proportion of passes, between 2005/06 and 2006/07 (Table 20).

School Leavers:

In 2006/07:

  • 4.1 per cent of leavers obtained no awards at SCQF Level 3 or better (this compares with 4.0 per cent in 2005/06 and 4.3 per cent in 2004/05). It should be noted that some of these pupils will have achieved unit awards or Access 1 & 2 Cluster awards, however these are not currently included in the analyses. At least one pass at SCQF Level 7 was obtained by 11.9 per cent of leavers, which is slightly down on the figure of 12.6 per cent in 2005/06. (Table 10)
  • 10.5 per cent of school leavers who were registered for free school meals attained no awards at SCQF level 3 or better, compared to 2.6 per cent of leavers not registered. Similarly, school leavers who live in the 15% most deprived data zones were more likely (9.0 per cent) to attain no awards at SCQF level 3 or better than those in the other 85% of data zones (2.5 per cent). (Table 11)
  • 10.9 per cent of pupils leaving schools in large urban areas attained at least one award at SCQF level 7. This compares to 15.4 per cent of pupils leaving schools in remote rural areas. (Table 11)
  • A higher proportion of females than males leaving publicly funded schools achieved passes at all SCQF Levels, except where three or more passes at SCQF Level 7 were attained. (Table 12)
  • 93.4 per cent of leavers attained English at SCQF Levels 3 to 5 and 92.6 per cent attained these levels in Mathematics. The proportions attaining English at SCQF Levels 6 and 7 were 24.1 per cent and 1.5 per cent respectively and the corresponding results for Mathematics were 17.8 per cent and 2.5 per cent. (Tables 13, 14 & 15)

School Leavers with Additional Support Needs:

  • Two new tables give information on the attainment of leavers with additional support needs ( ASN) (see background note 4.5). Nearly 64 per cent of leavers from publicly funded secondary and special schools with identified support needs had 5 or more qualifications at SCQF level 3 or above (Table 16). 14 per cent had no qualifications at SCQF level 3 or above, while just over 10 per cent had at least one qualification at SCQF level 6 or above (Table 17).

Destinations of School Leavers:

  • Two more new tables link leaver destinations to attainment. This information comes from two different sources and not all leavers can be linked (see background notes 2.2 to 2.4). Where destinations can be linked to attainment, just over 35 per cent of those going into higher education have at least one qualification at SCQF level 7, while around 80 per cent of those going into further education have no qualifications at SCQF level 6 or above (Table 18). A fifth of those in training had no qualifications higher than SCQF 3 and the equivalent figure for those unemployed and seeking employment or training was similar at just under 20 per cent. Those leavers with a destination of unemployed and not seeking employment or training or an unknown destination were most likely to have no qualifications at SCQF level 3 or better (around 15 per cent).
  • The tables included in this publication are based on approximately 90 per cent of those leavers for whom destinations are known and that we can confidently match to qualifications information. This is a developing area of work and we are putting in place strategies to improve the information and ensure 100 per cent coverage in future years. Since it has not been possible to link every leaver's destination to school attainment, these figures are not entirely representative of the school leaver population and there will be an element of bias. The 6,500 leavers where destinations were known but it was not possible to link to qualifications, were more likely to have employed, training, unemployed or unknown destinations and were less likely to be in higher education. Initial indicative analysis suggests that they are also more likely to have no qualifications or lower level qualifications. It is therefore expected that these groups are underestimated in the above analysis and this should be taken account of when interpreting the results.