Setting creates ‘double disadvantage’ for poor pupils

Setting by ability is more likely in Scotland than abroad, despite warnings that it promotes social class differences.

 

 
Pupils in Scottish secondaries are more likely to be grouped by ability than those in almost any other western country outside of the UK, new ļ¬gures show, prompting one leading academic to warn that setting puts poorer pupils at a “double disadvantage”.

 

An inclusion expert has also warned that grouping by ability is now increasingly common in Scottish primary schools – just as the government is striving to “close the attainment gap” between the most and least well-off pupils.

 

Although Scotland has among the least academically selective school admissions systems in the world, last week’s Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) results show that almost 92 per cent of Scottish secondaries grouped students by ability for “some subjects”. This compared with an average of 38 per cent across member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which runs Pisa.

 

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