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More than 130,000 Scottish pupils receive exam results

Image credit: Dods Library

More than 130,000 Scottish pupils receive exam results

The number of Scottish pupils gaining A-C passes in their Highers and Advanced Highers has decreased since last year.

The SQA has today published the pass rates for the 133,000 pupils receiving their exam results for assessments taken in May.

The A-C rate at Higher level decreased by two percentage points – from 76.8 per cent last year to 74.8 per cent this year - and the Advanced Higher pass rate dropped by just over one percentage point, from 80.5 per cent to 79.4 per cent.

However, the number of pupils gaining an A-C at National 5 level has increased from 77.4 per cent in 2018 to 78.2 per cent this year.

Overall, the number of course entries for National qualifications increased by 1,754 to 636,085.

The improvement in National 5 includes an increase of 4.4 per cent in passes for English and a 1.3 per cent rise in maths.

More than 54,000 skills-based qualifications have also been achieved, providing learners with the skills needed to help them move into employment, further or higher education. 

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “Congratulations to the pupils who have worked so hard and achieved so much this year. Thank you to all our teachers, lecturers and SQA staff for their dedicated support throughout the past twelve months.

“These are a strong set of results which show a degree of year on year variation expected in a high performing education system with credible assessment.

“I am pleased to see an overall rise in the pass rate for National 5 with increases in passes for maths and English. At Higher level we have seen a welcome upturn in the collective number of passes for the sciences – something we have focused our efforts on for some time.

“Our learners now have a much wider range of choice than ever before, allowing them to find the route into employment or further education that is right for them.

“There has been a sustained increase in the number of skills-based qualifications, with 54,406 awards achieved this year, more than double the figure attained in 2012 and a rise of over 4,000 awards on last year. These qualifications provide our learners with the vital knowledge and experience specifically valued by employers.

“While three-quarters of Higher candidates gained a pass at A-C, there has been a fall in the overall pass rate. This year for the first time we saw the removal of unit assessments at Higher level, a move that was broadly supported by the education sector. If the pass rate only ever went up people would rightly question the robustness of our assessment system.

“We need to continue to ensure teachers have the right support in place to help them provide the best learning and teaching experiences for our young people.

“Our planned review of the senior phase of Curriculum for Excellence, announced earlier this year with the backing of the parliament, will help us to better understand how the curriculum is being implemented in schools and identify any areas where we can collaborate with the education system to further improve the quality of education for our pupils.”

Fiona Robertson, SQA’s chief executive and Scotland’s chief examining officer, said: “First and foremost, I would like to congratulate each and every candidate who received results today. Qualifications play an important role in allowing young people to pursue their ambitions, whether that be continued education and training, or entering into employment.

“At the SQA we’re encouraged by learners achieving awards through a wide variety of routes. We are proud to offer a broad range of qualifications which ensures educational attainment is as accessible as possible, and provides learners with the right skills and knowledge to meet the requirements of employers, training providers and educators.

“Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all our staff and our appointees who work all year to ensure the smooth and successful delivery of SQA courses, culminating in results day.”

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