The attainment of pupils in Gaelic-medium primary education in Scotland

O'Hanlon, F., Paterson, L. and McLeod, W.
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 9999, 9999

The curricular attainment of pupils in Gaelic-medium primary education in Scotland is investigated using surveys of Gaelic-medium and English-medium pupils in the fifth and seventh years of primary school (approximately 9 and 11 years of age) in 2007. The Gaelic-medium survey was essentially a census of pupils. The English-medium survey was a clustered random sample of 25% of pupils. Attainment was assessed in Gaelic reading and writing (for the Gaelic-medium
pupils), and English reading and writing, mathematics and science (for
both Gaelic-medium and English-medium pupils). Science was assessed by tests administered as part of the survey; attainment in the other curricular areas was assessed by teacher judgement. The measures were analysed using multi-level modelling, with pupils grouped in schools (and, for some purposes with multivariate outcomes, with measures nested in pupils), and with controls for gender and social deprivation. While most Gaelic-medium pupils were performing
in Gaelic at the level stipulated by the curricular framework, a larger proportion was doing so in relation to English. In English reading more Gaelic-medium pupils had reached the stipulated level than had English-medium pupils. There was no reliable evidence of any difference between the two pupil groups in English writing, mathematics or science.

Number of levels
Model data structure
Response types
Multivariate response model?
Longitudinal data?
Substantive discipline

(1) Lecture at conference marking 25 years of Gaelic-medium education (Nov 2010).
(2) Highland Council Gaelic Committee (April 2011), and live webcast.
(3) Her Majesty's Inspectors of Education in Scotland endorsed the conclusions (2011).
(4) Statutory National Gaelic Language Plan 2012-17 endorsed the conclusions (2012).

Paper submitted by
Lindsay Paterson, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh,
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