Aberdeen secondary pupils are among the worst in the country when it comes to achieving the expected level of reading, writing, listening and talking.
Data gathered by teachers using a non standard assessment to measure pupil achievement against the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) found less than a quarter of city S3 pupils working at Level 4 are currently achieving the desired standard in several categories.
Just 20% are meeting the target for writing, with 21% reaching the benchmark for listening and talking and 24% at the desired level for reading.
The CfE was introduced in August 2010 and allows pupils to move through subject levels at their own pace. For example, an S2 pupil could be working towards the same level as an S3 student.
Level three and four are targets for pupils between S1-S3 – the latter expected to achieve Level 4 standard before progressing on to National four and five, Highers and Advanced Highers between S4-S6.
The experimental study, published by the Scottish Government, revealed Aberdeen has among the poorest scores of all Scottish local authorities.
But Aberdeen City Council said the information – based on the teacher’s assessment of their own pupils’ attainment – needs a more structured approach to provide a clearer picture.
Gayle Gorman, Aberdeen City Council’s director of education and children’s services, said the 2016/17 stats will paint an improving picture.
She said: “Since this data was submitted in June 2016 work has taken place with schools to ensure that the information is validated with robust moderation processes to ensure it reflects more accurately a holistic judgement of pupil attainment.
“The attainment data for 2016/17 is currently being collated and has been moderated and validated through an improved use of the draft benchmarking materials available.
“This shows a significant improvement on the data reported last year.”
For writing, reading and listening Aberdeen fell short of the national average, while Aberdeenshire pupils exceeded it in 2016.
City pupils only came close to achieving the standard for numeracy – with 45% of S3 Level 4 pupils meeting the expected level, just short of the 49% Scottish target.
In each area, double the number of Aberdeenshire S3 Level 4 pupils are achieved the necessary levels.
City SNP group leader Councillor Stephen Flynn said the figures were “sobering” to see.
He said: “I think there is a realisation that we need to do more to close the attainment gap.
“The Scottish Government put forward a significant amount of money to Aberdeen to help achieve this aim. It is something we all need to work together on to achieve.”
Cllr Flynn said education was the number one priority in the SNP’s election manifesto.
He said: “I expect it to be the number one priority of most elected members in the Town House and hopefully we can all work together with the Scottish Government to improve the level.”
At the end of last year the Evening Express revealed more than a third of Aberdeen city primary school pupils could not read or write to the national level.
The SNP Government was forced to defend claims it was failing thousands of children across the North-east after schools in Aberdeen city recorded the lowest number of pupils achieving the expected levels for literacy and numeracy, falling at least 10% below the national average in every category assessed.
The worst statistics recorded revealed 51% of primary seven pupils in the city are unable to write to the national level, with 42% at the same stage unable to achieve numeracy targets and 43% not reading to the expected level by their final year in primary school.
In Aberdeenshire, pupils at the same level mostly achieved within 10% of the national average across the disciplines. The poorest scores for Aberdeenshire pupils were in numeracy and reading among primary sevens, which sat at 10% below the national average. The government report is the first time pupil attainment standards have been collated in this way, and states: “These statistics are currently being developed and have been published to involve users and stakeholders in their development, and to build in quality and understanding at an early stage.
“This information was based on teachers’ professional judgements.”
Across Scotland the figures revealed literacy skills have fallen over the past four years, with less than half of 13 and 14-year-olds now performing well in writing.
Education Secretary John Swinney acknowledged the figures were simply not good enough and called for education reform.
He said: “The data published shows significant improvements are required in some local authorities.
“I would encourage parents to consider the school level information that is now available and discuss it with their child’s school.”