Scots teenage girls outperform boys when it comes to reading

Girls were better at reading but maths scores were similar. Picture: John Devlin
Girls were better at reading but maths scores were similar. Picture: John Devlin
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Girls in Scottish schools outperformed boys when it came to reading, the PISA test revealed yesterday.

The average score for males was 483 and for females was 504, a gap of 21 points. This gap proved statistically similar to the OECD average of 27 points, according to the complex method of calculating teenage academic performance.

The share of higher performers in reading among boys in Scotland was smaller than the OECD but girls had a similar share.

Boys’ and girls’ performances in maths were statistically similar in Scotland. The average score in maths was 488 for female students, and 495 for male students. The gap (seven points) was similar to the OECD average (eight points).

The gap in performance in science by gender was statistically significant in 2012, but this was no longer the case in 2015. However, performance for both boys and girls was significantly lower than in 2012, with a 20-point fall for boys and a 14-point fall for girls. A similar trend was observed across the UK.

The international study also found that students from an immigrant background in the UK do not perform as well in science as their peers. Fifteen year-olds from an immigrant background - defined as those whose mother and father were born in a country other than where the student sat the PISA test - scored an average of 23 points lower than those whose parents were from the UK.

The difference was more pronounced outside the UK, where the average difference in science performance between immigrant and non-immigrant students with a similar socio-economic profile was 31 points.

The report, released three years after the last, also found the proportion of students with an immigrant background increased from nine per cent in 2006 to 17 per cent in 2015.

On average across OECD countries, 12.5 per cent of students in 2015 had an immigrant background, up from 9.4 per cent in 2006.