ERIC Number: ED403350
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Jul
Reference Count: N/A
Improving Opportunities for Disadvantaged Students: Changes in S4 Examination Results, 1984-1990. CES Briefing No. 6.
In the 1980s Standard Grade curricula replaced Ordinary Grade curricula as the main academic course of study in the last 2 years of compulsory schooling (S3 and S4) in Scotland. This brief report examines the impact of the Standard Grade reform, focusing on changes in inequality of attainment for students from different social origins. It is based on analyses of examination scores in English, mathematics, and science, the first subjects to be introduced in the new curriculum. Data are from the Scottish Young People's Surveys of students who completed S4 in 1984, 1986, 1988, and 1990. The sample totalled 20,756 students in 412 schools. During the period in which Standard Grade was introduced, the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students decreased. This inequality declined more rapidly in the schools that implemented Standard Grade first. Inequality declined because students from lower social class backgrounds had better opportunities to take academic courses. The drop in inequality is likely to be due in part to the new curriculum. Inequalities in gaining awards (successful course completion) declined, but inequalities in the top awards did not change significantly. Students from higher social class backgrounds maintained their advantage at the top levels of examination scores. Results suggest that curriculum reform can be an effective strategy for change, but that it does not fully resolve the problem of educational inequality. (SLD)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Economic and Social Research Council, Edinburgh (Scotland). Centre for Educational Sociology.
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)