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

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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 Gaelicmedium 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-729
Number of pages23
JournalInternational Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism
Issue number6
Early online date28 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • Gaelic-medium education
  • attainment
  • multi-level modelling
  • immersion education
  • bilingual education
  • school effects


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