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Curriculum for Excellence Benchmarks

Last updated:
19 January 2017

What is this?

Benchmarks set out clear statements about what learners need to know and be able to do to achieve a level in Literacy and English and Numeracy and Mathematics. They streamline and embed a wide range of existing assessment guidance, including the significant aspects of learning and progression frameworks, providing a single key resource to support teachers’ professional judgement. The Benchmarks should be used to help monitor progress towards achievement of a level and to support professional dialogue and judgement of when a learner has achieved a level.

It is not necessary for learners to demonstrate evidence of every aspect of learning within the Benchmarks before moving on to the next level.  However, it is important that this is interpreted in ways which ensure no major gaps in children's and young people's learning.

The Benchmarks will ensure greater consistency in the collection of assessment data across the country. Schools and establishments should plan to engage with the Benchmarks and accompanying advice as early as possible in session 2016/2017.

Who is this for?

​The guidance is for teachers and practitioners, including those in early learning and childcare, youth work, colleges and local authorities.


PDF file: Benchmarks for Literacy and English (797 KB)

Word file: Benchmarks for Literacy and English (97 KB)

PDF file: Benchmarks for Numeracy and Mathematics (1.8 MB)

Word file: Benchmarks for Numeracy and Mathematics (250 KB)

PDF file: Achievement of a Level poster (31 KB)

Draft Benchmarks for literacy and English and numeracy and mathematics: Tell us what you think

The Benchmarks for both literacy and English and numeracy and mathematics have been published in draft form. The reason for this is because Education Scotland wants to engage with teachers and practitioners, as they begin to use the Benchmarks to support professional judgement of both progress towards and achievement of a level. Feedback on specific Benchmarks is also welcome. All feedback will be considered when finalising the Benchmarks.

Give us your feedback on the draft Benchmarks (deadline for responses 31 March 2017. Final versions of literacy and English and numeracy and mathematics Benchmarks will be published June 2017).


Benchmarks for curriculum areas other than literacy and English and numeracy and mathematics

We are currently developing benchmarks for the following curriculum areas:

  • Expressive Arts
  • Literacy and Gàidhlig
  • Gaelic (Learners)
  • Health and Wellbeing (Food & Health)
  • Health and Wellbeing (Personal & Social Education)
  • Health and Wellbeing (Physical Education)
  • Modern Languages
  • Religious & Moral Education
  • Religious Education (Roman Catholic)
  • Sciences
  • Social Studies
  • Technologies

(note that the experiences & outcomes for Technologies are currently under revision)


26 Sept 2016 to 14 Oct 2016 - Initial consultations on first drafts of Benchmarks. Education Scotland’s Senior Education Officers have shared the drafts with subject networks, partners and practitioners.
17 Oct 2016 to 2 Nov 2016 - Comments still welcome on first drafts of Benchmarks.
4 Nov 2016 - Second drafts of Benchmarks produced.
9 Nov 2016 - Meeting with representatives of professional associations to look across second drafts. Thereafter, third drafts produced.
18 Nov 2016 - Education Scotland staff meet for ‘read across’ of all Benchmarks. 
end Nov 2016 - Final QA of all Benchmarks completed.
early Dec 2016 - Benchmarks passed to ES online team for publication.   

Update 19 January 2017

In line with the Delivery Plan, Education Scotland has now provided Benchmarks in every curriculum area and for each level across the Broad General Education. The Depute First Minister wishes to undertake ‎more stakeholder dialogue before launching the Benchmarks.

Contact us

If you have a query about the Benchmarks, or would like to be involved in the consultation, please email:

Please indicate in your email which Benchmarks you are interested in.


Curriculum for Excellence (CfE); Learning and assessment; Numeracy; Literacy