I’ve only just crunched the numbers from last year’s exam results in England and Scotland (see graph below). This data is unpublished by the Scottish Government, so you hear it here first!
What it shows is the % of pupils getting 5 GCSEs at grade C & above, including English and Maths – or the Scottish equivalent, which is Standard Grades 1-3, Intermediate 2 A-C and Intermediate 1 A.
The civil servants don’t like it (and ministers certainly don’t), because they say you can’t compare the two systems, but there’s a universally accepted equivalence between the two exam systems that is used for university entrance, by businesses when considering job applications and so on.
This is one of the gold standards used by educationalists measuring school performance, because it includes all pupils and includes the key subjects measuring literacy and numeracy. So efforts to cook the books by encouraging weaker pupils to leave or study easy subjects are largely eliminated.
It makes depressing reading, particularly for Scots. What we’re saying here is that less than half of Scots pupils are capable of getting 5 C’s (or equivalent). In places like Glasgow, the figure is a more like a third. Worse, the situation has not improved, despite a doubling of school funding over the last twelve years or so.
Where has all the money gone? Mostly on costly new buildings and higher teacher salaries.