Scottish curriculum narrows and attainment drops under new regime

The TES is reporting that attainment and the number of qualifications being pursued by Scottish pupils – particularly those of lower ability – has dropped sharply since the new curriculum and qualifications were introduced.

The situation for modern languages was “near critical” because of the drop in pupils enrolling for these subjects in S4, according to Dr Jim Scott from the University of Dundee.

Overall since the new qualifications were introduced in 2014, enrolment at Scottish qualifications levels three to five has dropped by 17 per cent and the number of pupils passing at these levels has dropped by 24 per cent, he found. (Level three is the equivalent to the old Foundation Standard grade or the new National 3 qualification; level five is equivalent to the old Credit Standard grade or the new National 5 qualification.)

The least able pupils were most badly affected, compounding “Scotland’s existing problems of social justice and equality of opportunity”, Dr Scott said…

Much of the change was down to the different ways in which schools now organised their curricula, with some authorities limiting pupils to just five or six courses in S4, he said, whereas in the past they would have been able to take seven or eight subjects.

The likes of modern languages had “suffered disproportionately” as a result of this narrowing of the curriculum, which he found existed in at least 170 of Scotland’s 350 secondaries.

The drop in courses being undertaken in S4 was “an unintended consequence” of Curriculum for Excellence, Dr Scott believes. However, he said: “There is no identifiable evidence of governmental acknowledgement of the problem or of remedial action…”

More at: Scottish curriculum narrows and attainment drops under new regime


This doesn’t sound very encouraging – what do you make of the criticisms raised here by Dr Scott?

Anyone got a link to his report?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…

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