Pisa: Scottish pupils' view of teachers ‘very positive'

Scottish students are more likely to say teachers are enthusiastic and inspiring – but heads warn over staff shortages

Pisa: Scottish students’ view of teachers ‘very positive’

Scottish students are more likely to say their teachers are enthusiastic and inspiring, that they show enjoyment of teaching, and make it clear they like teaching their class, than students in other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

Scottish students are also more likely to report that their teachers support them and persist until the class understands the lesson.

Figures published today by the OECD, based on its Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) tests – sat by 2,969 Scottish 15-year-olds in 107 schools – show that almost 60 per cent of Scottish students agreed with the statement that "the enthusiasm of the teacher inspired me"; the OECD average is 55 per cent.

And 79.2 per cent of Scottish students agreed with the statement that "the teachers showed enjoyment in teaching" – higher than the OECD average of 74.1 per cent.


Background: Pisa 2018 results reveal a mixed picture for Scotland

Opinion: Pisa – is Scotland 'stagnating in mediocrity'?

Related: Pisa – no sign of closing-the-gap cash making an impact

News editor’s take: Pisa – are Scottish and English education closer than we thought?


Some 77.4 per cent of Scottish students agreed that "it was clear to me that the teacher liked teaching us", which was higher than the OECD average of 73.2 per cent.

Students in Scotland were also more likely to report higher levels of support, with 51.5 per cent saying "the teacher gives extra help when we need it" in every lesson", against the OECD average of 43.9 per cent.

However, information collected from Scottish headteachers for Pisa suggests that while relationships between students and staff may be positive, there are still simply not enough teachers to go round.

Nearly half of headteachers in Scotland (49 per cent) reported that teaching was hindered by a lack of teaching staff, compared with just over a quarter in the rest of the UK.

Headteachers in Scotland were also most likely to report truancy as a problem when compared with the other three home nations: England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

Education secretary John Swinney said other data, published by the Scottish government, suggested there had been an improvement in school attendance and participation, and a reduction in absenteeism.

“This is one particular survey of opinion,” he added.

The Scottish government’s principal research officer Keith Dryburgh said: “What was really positive that we found on the student questionnaire was the student point of view on their teachers. They are much more likely than OECD average to be inspired by their teachers, to feel being supported by their teachers and to feel the teacher keeps going until the students understand.

"So, actually the student view on their teachers is very positive and at least as good as the rest of the UK.”

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