FOI24/25 007 Maths and Applications of Maths Attainment N4, N5, Higher

Date published: 30/04/2024

FOI reference: 24/25 007

Date received: 10/04/2024

Date responded: 30/04/2024

Information requested

I would like the Mathematics and Applications of Maths results, at N4 to Higher, including exam center, a measure of deprivation and gender. I would need a unique student identifier to be able to take account of those who have dual entry to Maths and Applications of Maths as I am looking to see if the overall percentage of those with of or other has increased. I would like this data from 2014 to 2023.

I suspect that offering Applications of Maths may have significantly improved the percentage of students achieving a Mathematics qualification at every level, and especially for girls, who unfortunately still see the non - applications course as biased towards engineering and science and so less relevant, and especially for deprived students, as they see how the Applications topics can help them in everyday life and so are better motivated to attain.

To ensure that we are giving you the information you are looking for, attached is a spreadsheet with information from 2023. Can you let me know if this is what you are looking for, and if you have any questions etc, please let me know. If this is ok, we will sort out the other years you are looking for where possible.

I received the following comments from our Statistics department (it should be noted that where entries are less than 5 we apply disclosure control to avoid possible identification of candidates).

Turns out this is a bit of a tricky one due to the amount of variables involved which would result in excessive disclosure control.

We went over the request and don’t think that the centre variable is necessary for what is being asked.

A result on P  = Pass at National 4 and a Result of N at all levels = No Award.

Thank you so much, I really appreciate your prompt reply.

I was hoping for by centre as I was looking to see if the percentage of passes in a maths subject (maths or Apps), out of the centre’s total entrants each year, increased, or if the percentage of girls per centre increased or if the percentage of those with higher deprivation increased, again for the centre.

However my understanding is that if any of the values are less than 5 in any category, i.e. less than 5 in particular centre at particular a level of SIMD20 who are female, the data couldn’t be released so that would affect far too many entries, so I’ll not be able to go down that route.

Would it be possible to anonymise the centre ID? Would that be a way around?

If that’s not possible there’s still loads of interesting investigating I can do with what you have found. However, total number of students with SQA numbers that year for the different categories would be helpful, then I can look to see what percentage of girls, SIMD20 level 5 who took any SQA exams got a Maths/Apps exam in 2013 vs 2019, for example.

Again, to check understanding, the first sheet is telling me how many dual entries per level per gender per SIMD20. This means I can subtract them from the sum of Apps / Maths passes for each category. I’m guessing the *** is when the number is less than 5. Were categories with zero included?

Looking at the next two sheets they seem easy to understand. Does ‘o' stand for ‘other’ sex? And ‘-' in SIMD20 means unknown?

Having thought a bit overnight, would it work if I had the data you propose, but then an additional data set including centre but excluding breakdown by depravation? Then I could get some of idea of improvement in centres that offer Apps but would be less likely to encounter as many excluded data values due to less than 5.

I could look at the national level for impact on depravation.


Attached is the information as we think best suits what you are looking for. However, please let me know if you have any questions. There are explanatory notes contained within the document.


foi-24-25-007-information-sheet.xlsx (1.93 MB)