Scotland‘s first results day after the cancellation of exams due to coronavirus has shown a rise in pass rates and and increase students getting accepted into university or college compared to last year.
Pupils were told the outcome of their Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) courses and awards on Tuesday, with their course grades estimated by teachers due to the pandemic.
This year’s results show the National 5 pass rate was 81.1 per cent, the Higher pass rate was 78.9 per cent and the Advanced Higher pass rate was 84.9 per cent – all higher than the year before.
A total of 28,970 students from Scotland have been accepted into university or college through Ucas – up 220 on exam results day last year.
Clare Marchant, Ucas chief executive, said: ”The increase in people with a confirmed place, especially the record number from Scotland‘s most deprived areas and those choosing to study nursing, should be particularly celebrated, with their achievements providing their passport into higher education.”
Scotland’s results day comes at the end of a school year which has faced disruption due to coronavirus, with students told to stay at home as part of efforts to contain the virus.
SQA exams – which includes Nationals and Highers courses – were also cancelled for the first time.
Instead, the body has devised an alternate method of awarding grades based on prelims and coursework assessment.
The SQA said it will “moderate” the results, based on historical performances of the school, not the pupil.
It has been pushed to reveal its methodology and results of a legally required Equalities Impact Assessment.
However, the exam body has said this will only happen after results are delivered to pupils – despite concerns from the Equality and Human Rights Commission that the proposed grading system may be illegal.
Some students received their grades via a letter in the post, while others who have a MySQA account got them by text or email from 8am.
Speaking after results were published, John Swinney, the deputy first minister, said: “In the face of an incredibly tough few months for pupils and teachers, we can today celebrate the achievements of all learners.”
He added: “Teachers and lecturers applied their judgments against national standards and today’s data shows that three out of every four grade estimates were not adjusted by the Scottish Qualification Authority.
The Scottish government has announced plans to fully reopen schools to students this month.
Additional reporting by Press Association