Nicola Sturgeon should be ashamed of her Government’s record after the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) survey revealed that Scotland’s results in maths and science are now lower, says Highlands and Islands Conservative MSP Donald Cameron.

Mr Cameron said: “Nicola Sturgeon claimed, when she became First Minister, that her priority was education. These devastating figures refute that claim.  We have fallen behind Latvia and Slovenia in maths and the score for science has fallen in every PISA survey since the SNP came to power 12 years ago.

“Her obsession with independence has come at a very high price for our children’s education and for the future performance of Scotland’s economy."

Scotland’s Maths score has dropped in every PISA survey. Scotland is now 31st overall in Maths and just below the OECD average. England is 17th. Scotland is now performing worse than Latvia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Iceland and Northern Ireland.

Scotland’s Science score has dropped in every PISA survey since 2006. This year’s drop is the biggest since that between 2000 and 2003. Scotland is now 29th overall in Science, in line with the OECD average. England is 13th. Scotland is now performing worse than Northern Ireland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Denmark. 

 Reading didn’t reach 2012 levels – and is far below the 2000 and 2003 levels. Scotland is now 15th in Reading, just above the OECD average. England is 14th.

Score

2000

2003

2006

2009

2012

2015

2018

Reading

526

516

499

500

506

493

504

Maths

533

524

506

499

498

491

489

Science

522

514

515

514

513

497

490

 The Scottish Government says comparisons cannot be made on the scores in Maths before 2003 or in Science before 2006 because the assessment “changed radically”. However, they accept international comparisons can still be made, as they said that it is still “possible to compare changes in Scotland's performance relative to the OECD average or other countries” (Scottish Government, PISA 2015, link; Scottish Government, 2009, link).

 Rank

2000

2006

2018

 

Reading

6th 

14th

15th

 

Maths

5th

17th

31st

 

Science

9th

14th

29th

 

Between 2000 and 2018, OECD and non-OECD countries have been added to the results. The above table includes non-OECD countries where possible. 

Jennifer Ross, the Conservative & Unionist candidate in the General Election, said: “Scotland used to be a benchmark of educational excellence. Seeing the decline in standards over the last decade is extremely disappointing.

"It is even worse if you consider that the worst-performing subjects like maths and Science are specifically those that young people need the most to take advantage of the current and future career landscape. Nicola Sturgeon said ‘judge me on my record on education’. Well, she has been judged, and the verdict is in:she has failed.”

International PISA results in 2006 are available here: https://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisaproducts/39725224.pdf

PISA results in Scotland prior to 2018 are available here: https://www2.gov.scot/Topics/Statistics/Browse/School-Education/PISA

UK Parliament election December 12th

Na h-Eileanan an Iar constituency

Alison MacCorquodale is the Labour Party candidate

Angus MacNeil is the Scottish National Party (SNP) candidate

Neil Mitchison is the Liberal Democrat Party candidate

Jennifer Ross is the Conservative and Unionist Party candidate