More children make the grade in 'vintage year' for exam passes

PUPILS across Scotland will enjoy a "vintage year" for exam results with an increase in pass rates for both Standard Grade and Higher exams announced today.

Pass rates for Highers and Intermediate 2 exams have shown a significant increase, as thousands of students prepare to receive their results this morning.

The overall pass rate for Highers jumped to 73.4 per cent, compared to 71.7 per cent last year, with marked increases in English, which hit 68.3 per cent – a 4 per cent rise on last year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There were also slight increases in maths, physics, biology and chemistry.

Pupils sitting Intermediate 2 exams saw the pass rate increase by 2.6 per cent on last year, with improvements in maths – up nearly 4 per cent, and physics up 9 per cent for the same period.

Judith Gillespie, from the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, said the results reflected well on the education system.

She said: "These results look good and pupils should be well pleased. It's pleasing to see, a good vintage year."

Figures from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) showed that the overall pass rate for Standard Grades had risen from 97.6 per cent in 2007 to 98 per cent this year.

That reverses the last year's slight dip, when the pass rate had fallen for the first time in four years.

There was a small drop in the pass rate for Standard Grade English, which went from 98.8 per cent last year to 98.7 per cent this year.

However, the pass rate for Standard Grade maths increased from 97.4 per cent to 98.7 per cent. The statistics show a decrease in the number of Standard Grade exams that students took, falling from 404,638 last year to 386,857 this year – a drop of 4.4 per cent.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

This is a continuation of the downward trend in recent years, as some schools seek to replace them with Intermediate exams. Figures point to an increase in the number of Intermediate exams, which are designed to be taken in between Standard and Highers.

The figures were released to coincide with thousands of youngsters receiving their exam results today.

About 20,000 students who signed up for a special scheme were due to get their grades by e-mail or text message at about 8am. They, along with those who sat exams earlier this year, should also receive their results' certificate today.

Commenting on this year's results, Dr Janet Brown, SQA's chief executive and Scotland's chief examining officer, said: "I am delighted and greatly encouraged to see the increase in numbers of learners achieving our qualifications, and the steady growth in pass rates. These results show continuing strong achievements in what is a robust Scottish education system.

"Almost 160,000 learners will receive results today and I congratulate them all and wish them continuing success in the future."

Fiona Hyslop, the education secretary, congratulated students on their achievements.

She said: "I know today's results represent months of dedication and hard work by them (the pupils] and their teachers, combined with support of their parents and friends have resulted in the certificates they have received today.

"As Scotland's young people continue to aim high and achieve so much, we can look to a future where Scotland is smarter and we can compete on equal terms with the rest of the world, even in these difficult economic times."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Ms Hyslop also had words of advice for those who did not get the grades they were hoping for, telling them comprehensive advice and support would be available to all pupils to help them realise their goals.