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Language trends in Scotland (August 2012)

Please find below SCILT's 2012 analysis of published SQA statistics on language trends in Scottish schools. Because many pupils opt to study a social science instead of a modern language, for our analysis this year we have compared trends of uptake in modern languages and social sciences from 2009-2012.

Headline Findings: 

French is still the most frequently studied modern language in S4 at SCQF Levels 4-5 (Standard Grade General/Credit Level plus Intermediate 1-2).  Awards for French at those levels are significantly above any of the social sciences (+20% compared to History). German is in second place although the difference with Spanish appears to be narrowing. However, awards for German are significantly below those of any social science (-58% compared to Modern Studies). Notional conversion rates for all three main modern languages from awards in S4 at SCQF Level 5 (Standard Grade Credit Level plus Intermediate 2) to awards at SCQF Level 6 (SQA Higher) are significantly below those for any of the social sciences.  Attainment levels in both Spanish and French, particularly with regard to A grade passes, are above those in the social sciences.  However, the overall pass rate of German has dropped compared to 2011 to fall below that of any of the social sciences in 2012. 

For more detailed information please download the analysis - Modern Languages vs Social Sciences 2009-2012.

University of Strathclyde Education Scotland British Council Scotland The Scottish Government
SCILT - Scotlands National centre for Languages