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Programme for International Student Assessment Results (Maths and Science)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 18th December 2019.

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Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

7. To ask the Scottish Government whether the performance of Scotland in maths and science that was recorded in the recent programme for international student assessment results is its poorest. (S5O-03923)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The PISA results for 2018 show that our performance in science and maths is in line with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development average, and it is statistically similar to Scotland’s results from the previous survey in 2015. Those results are stable—but stable is not good enough. We are committed to the measures that we have put in place to drive improvement in attainment across Scotland, and in particular to close the poverty-related attainment gap.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

If you are brief, your colleague Mr Cameron will be able to ask his question.

Photo of Liam Kerr Liam Kerr Conservative

I shall be brief, then. I asked very specifically about the PISA results, which show that Scotland’s performance in maths and science is at a record low—in maths it has fallen from 17th to 31st since the Scottish National Party took office. It is an appalling indictment of the Government’s mismanagement and a shameful legacy to bequeath to our children. Does the cabinet secretary have any ideas on how to arrest that slide? When will the statistics start to improve?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

Mr Kerr could, possibly, have said that our reading score has improved significantly, but he chose not to. Instead, he indulged in the perpetual, miserable, anti-education agenda of the Conservatives, which is all about talking down Scottish education. They tried it in the election last week and they took a hammering. They were sent homeward to think again. Scottish education is improving and the Conservatives are going downhill very fast.