This glossary explains educational terms used on Parentzone Scotland. Clicking on highlighted words within the 'Find a school' section of the website will cause the associated glossary entry to open.
An agreement between a young person and a professional acting in an advisory and guidance role. The young person takes part in a programme of learning and activity that helps them become ready for formal learning or employment.
You can find
more information on activity agreements on the YouthLink Scotland website.
The Insight measure for breadth and depth, known on Parentzone Scotland as 'awards gained by level' refers to the range of qualifications taken and the level at which they are achieved.
Find information on
breadth and depth, two of the seven principles of design for Curriculum for Excellence.
Datazones are small geographical areas of Scotland. They have an average population of between 500 and 1,000 residents and contain households with similar social characteristics. They sit within local authority boundaries and, where possible, respect physical boundaries and natural communities.
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) identifies the concentration of deprivation within each datazone. Datazones may be grouped according to concentration of deprivation.
Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.
Not having something that a person needs or people need. There are many different types of deprivation and people can experience more than one type of deprivation at a time.
Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation considers deprivation by looking at income, employment, health, education, housing, access to services and levels of crime in an area.
The Eco-Schools programme is an international initiative designed to encourage whole school action for the environment. It is a recognised award scheme that accredits early learning and childcare settings and schools that make a commitment to continuously improve their environmental performance. It is also a learning resource that raises awareness of environmental and sustainable development issues throughout activities linked to curriculum areas.
The aim of the Eco-Schools programme is to make environmental awareness and action a central part of the life and ethos of the school for both pupils and staff, and to engage the wider community.
Gaelic medium education can be delivered in free-standing provision known as Gaelic schools or Gaelic medium schools. In other cases, Gaelic medium education and English medium education take place in the same school.
Insight is an online tool for secondary schools and local authorities. It is aligned with Curriculum for Excellence.
Insight is a professional tool, aimed at teachers and other staff. It is used to help secondary schools and local authorities identify areas of success and where improvements can be made for pupils in the senior phase (S4 - S6). Its key focus is on detailed information about the attainment and destinations of school leavers. It also provides detailed information about the attainment of young people as they move through the senior phase. Much of the attainment information is based on pupils’ best awards in each subject. This means that, for example, if someone has a National 5 and a Higher in Mathematics, it is the Higher award which is counted.
Insight does not include data relating to attainment in S1 - S3.
Although Insight provides data on the attainment of a wide range of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) awards from a range of providers, not all SCQF achievement awards are included.
further information on Insight on the Scottish Government website.
The ability to communicate by reading, writing, and listening and talking.
Reading - The ability to understand and interpret ideas, opinions and information presented in texts. It includes handling information to make reasoned and informed decisions.
Writing - The ability to create texts which communicate ideas, opinions and information, to meet a purpose and within a context.
Listening and talking - Listening is the ability to understand and interpret spoken ideas, opinions and information for a purpose and within a context, drawing on non-verbal communication (body language and facial expressions) as appropriate. Talking means the ability to communicate orally ideas, opinions and information for a purpose and within a context.
Further information on
awards that contribute to the literacy and numeracy measure presented on Parentzone Scotland.
The ability to use numbers in order to solve problems by counting, doing calculations, measuring, and understanding graphs and charts, and results.
Number processes means solving problems that can happen in everyday life through: carrying out calculations involving addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division; using whole numbers, fractions, decimal fractions and percentages; making informed decisions based on the results of these calculations; understanding these results.
Money, time and measurement means using and understanding money, time and measurement to solve practical problems in a variety of situations, using relevant units and suitable instruments, with appropriate accuracy.
Information handling means being able to interpret information in tables, charts and other graphs to come to sensible conclusions. It involves interpreting the data and considering its reliability in making reasoned deductions and informed decisions. It also involves an awareness and understanding of the chance of events happening.
Information is collected by Skills Development Scotland on what young people do when they leave school. This information is referred to as school leaver destinations.
Scottish education aims to support all young people to have a 'positive destination' when they leave school. Positive destinations include: higher education, further education, training, voluntary work, employment, activity agreements.
This Scottish Government statistics publication has
further information on school leaver destinations.
A young person of school leaving age who left school (from S4, S5 or S6) during or at the end of the school year.
School leavers are recorded against the school at which they were present in the
pupil census in September. Young people who move to another school or outwith Scotland are not included.
The positive leaver destination measure on Parentzone Scotland uses data from
Insight about school leavers, which is collected by Skills Development Scotland. Details about a leaver's destination are only included in the measure if a link can be made between the leaver's Skills Development Scotland destination record and a Pupil Census record with stage S4, S5 or S6 for the same academic year. In addition, the young person must not have a Pupil Census record in the following academic year in a senior phase stage (S4-S6).
The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework is Scotland's national qualifications framework. The SCQF supports lifelong learning and can: help people of all ages and circumstances to access appropriate education and training over their lifetime; and help employers, learners and the general public to understand the full range of Scottish qualifications, how they relate to each other and to other forms of learning, and how different types of qualification can contribute to improving the skills of the workforce.
The SCQF has 12 levels which indicate the level of difficulty of a qualification. SCQF levels allow broad comparisons to be made between qualifications and learning. Examples of some of the SCQF level qualifications are:
More information can be found on the
SCQF website and the
The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation identifies small area concentrations of multiple deprivation across all of Scotland in a consistent way. It allows policies and funding to be put in place to tackle issues associated with multiple deprivation.
Small geographical areas called
datazones are ordered by the concentration of multiple deprivation. This is based on an assessment of income, employment, health, education, housing, access to services and levels of crime in the area.
Find out more about the
Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation.
The senior phase, which takes place from S4 to S6 in schools and includes ages 16 to 18 out of school, is the phase when young people will begin to build up a portfolio of qualifications and awards.
Only those young people who are undertaking learning in school, or learning offered in partnership with their secondary school, are included in the performance measures shown on Parentzone Scotland.
The tariff score for a learner is the total number of tariff points for the awards they achieve, taking account of only their latest and best attainment in each subject. This means that, for example, if someone has a National 5 and a Higher in Mathematics, it is the points for the Higher award which are counted.
Subject courses and individual units are awarded tariff points. The number of tariff points awarded depends on: the SCQF level of the course or unit; whether the full course has been undertaken and assessed; and the grade achieved for the course. The average tariff scores of a school's leavers are not directly comparable with other schools'. This is because they are influenced by a range of factors including the number of subjects young people take in the senior phase.
The tariff score used on Insight should not be confused with the term 'tariff' as used by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS), which is calculated differently.
Teachers make professional judgements about children and young people’s progress and achievement on an on-going basis.
Teachers make their professional judgements by considering all of the evidence gathered during the on-going assessment of children and young people’s learning. This may include observations of learners at work, evidence of children’s knowledge and understanding gathered by talking to them about their learning, and assessment of the work they produce in class. It may also include more formal assessment evidence such as results of standardised assessments.
Teachers of children and young people in P1, P4, P7 and S3 in Scotland, are now asked to use the evidence they have about pupils’ progress to decide which level of Curriculum for Excellence they have achieved. This is known as 'teacher professional judgement of achievement of a level'.
Insight allows schools to compare their performance to the performance of a virtual comparator.
The virtual comparator consists of a sample group of school leavers from schools in other local authorities who have similar characteristics to the school leavers from the school in question.
For each school leaver, ten matching school leavers are randomly selected based on gender, additional support needs, stage of leaving school (S4, S5 or S6) and the social context in which they live (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation). These characteristics were selected due to their significance in explaining differences in the attainment and destinations of school leavers in Scotland.
technical information on virtual comparators.
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