OECD review of Scottish education

The OECD has published the findings of its review of Scottish education, with a focus on the Broad General Education stage of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).

The review found that levels of academic achievement are above international averages in science and reading and close to average in maths, and that achievement levels are spread relatively equally. However the report also identified a number of problems and challenges, including a fifth of schools being assessed as only “satisfactory” in school inspections, and one in 10 rated as “weak or unsatisfactory”. The report also said that more should be done to improve assessment and more needs to be done about low performing schools.

The OECD’s recommendations for Scottish education are:

  • Prioritise “closing the gap” and “raising the bar” simultaneously – but have greater clarity about what gap is being targeted
  • Ensure that the array of frameworks, guidance and policies to tackle poverty are joined-up and that there is a solid evidence base
  • Measure and assess the four capacities (successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens, effective contributors) not just the more-easily measurable things like qualifications
  • Improve the visibility of CfE by creating a new narrative that builds on its achievements and reflects new evidence
  • There should be a shift towards the ‘middle’ – schools, communities, networks of schools, and local authorities in a framework of professional leadership and collective responsibility.
  • Simplify and clarify CfE guidance, reducing bureaucracy and ensuring information is easily accessible
  • Focus on the quality of implementation of CfE in schools and communities, and make this an evaluation priority
  • Develop targeted, networked, evaluated innovation in secondary school learning environments to enhance engagement
  • Develop a coherent strategy for building teacher and leadership social capital
  • Develop an integrating framework for assessment and evaluation that 
encompasses all system levels
  • Strike a more even balance between the formative focus of assessment and developing a robust evidence base on learning outcomes and progression
  • Strengthen evaluation and research, including independent knowledge creation

The review is available here.

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