Exploring the Curriculum for Excellence 2022/23 Results

12 December 2023 Sumdog Team
Children jumping in the air

"The percentage of pupils achieving the expected CfE Level has increased in 2022/23 across all organisers and stages, as compared to 2021/22." 

Results published on the www.gov.scot website show a marked improvement in literacy and numeracy performance across Scotland's learners.

Let's take a look at the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) 2022/23 levels and the implications they have for Scotland's primary education system. 

Understanding the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) levels data

The Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) levels data provides valuable insights into educational progress in Scotland. These levels are designed to assess pupils' performance across four areas known as organisers (Reading, Writing, Listening & Talking and Numeracy). By analysing the CfE levels data, educators and policymakers can identify areas of improvement and implement targeted strategies to enhance pupils' learning outcomes.

The CfE levels performance data is based on teachers’ professional judgement of their pupils' performance, although teachers use the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSAs) to help inform this judgement. The results obtained from these assessments are not formally reported, but they serve as a valuable tool for teachers to gauge whether pupils are meeting the expected level of achievement based on their age and stage of development.

Rather than focusing solely on more limited assessments of prescriptive requirements, this comprehensive approach allows for a holistic evaluation of pupils' abilities and provides a more accurate representation of their academic progress.

Moreover, the CfE levels performance data is an essential data point for monitoring the overall effectiveness of the education system in Scotland. By analysing the data, educational institutions can identify trends, address disparities, and make informed decisions to ensure continuous improvement in numeracy and literacy attainment.

Key changes and results in the 2022/23 levels

The 2022/23 levels of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) indicated several key findings for pupils at primary stage.

Key Findings

Across all primary school stages and organisers, there was a notable increase in the percentage of primary school pupils achieving the expected CfE levels in 2022/23 compared to the previous year. These increases generally ranged from one to two percentage points, demonstrating the progress and dedication of pupils and across Scotland.

In several areas and stages, especially at P7, a significant majority of primary school pupils have surpassed or met the expected levels, reaching or even surpassing the performance levels seen in 2018/19 (pre-pandemic). However, there are still a few instances where the figures for 2022/23 are slightly lower than those of 2018/19.

For P1, P4 and P7 pupils combined, the proportion achieving the expected level in both literacy and literacy was reported as the highest on record.
The gap between the proportion of primary school pupils (P1, P4 and P7 combined) from the most and least deprived areas who achieved the expected level in literacy narrowed from 21.3 percentage points in 2021/22 to 20.5 percentage points in 2022/23 – the smallest on record (since 2016/17). This is a particularly impressive result given numerous studies have shown that the pandemic widened the attainment gap in many parts of the U.K.

In terms of pupil characteristics, female pupils at all stages continued to outperform male pupils across all literacy organisers. Pupils with an Additional Support Need had a lower proportion of achieving the expected level compared to those without.

Implications and next steps for Scotland

Although Scottish teachers will of course continue to feel the lasting effects of the pandemic for many years, these results represent a massive achievement for Scottish schools in that context. As pupil attainment returns to, and even surpasses pre-pandemic levels, educators in Scotland can be assured that their teaching has led to an impressive recovery in terms of attainment against the CfE levels.

Scotland’s willingness to embrace digital education has undoubtedly played an integral part in this recovery, and will continue to be a huge asset moving forward. Here at Sumdog we are confident that the flexibility and efficiency offered by digital education solutions will continue to empower teachers to improve attainment in Scotland, and we’re excited to play a part in that future.


For further information please view the full publication on the Scottish Government's website here. 

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