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The hard facts for schools

THE Pirls study provides some uncomfortable Easter reading. As is long established in Scotland, there is a wide variation in performance among P5 pupils in the 118 random primaries which took part in multiple choice and written answer questions.

Some 13 per cent of the sample failed to reach even the lowest quartile benchmark. In England, the figure was 10 per cent.

Sweden and England came out out with the highest achievement in reading for literary purposes and Sweden, the Netherlands and Bulgaria were the top performers in reading for information. Scotland was 14th in the literary test and 17th in information.

Teachers in all countries reported spending on average 837 hours a year on language instruction. In Scotland, this rose to 962 and it was marginally less in England at 958. Girls did better across all countries.

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