Higher and new National Qualification results out today
Students across Scotland have achieved a record number of Higher passes in the last school year, it’s been revealed today. Over 140,000 candidates across Scotland received their results this morning, and Schools Minister Dr Alasdair Allan has congratulated pupils and teachers on their hard work and effort.
In addition to Access, Intermediates, Highers and Advanced Highers, this year saw the first students study for the new National Qualifications – part of the ongoing implementation of Curriculum for Excellence.
This year saw a record number of Higher passes, with the overall pass rate remaining virtually unchanged – 77.1 per cent this year compared with 77.4 per cent last year. The number of Highers sat was 191,850 across all subjects – an increase of more than 9,000.
Students also received the first ever results for National 3 and 4 – assessed during the year– and National 5, assessed during the year and through a traditional end-of-year exam. The pass rate was 93.0 per cent for National 4 and 81.1 per cent for National 5.
While direct comparisons between the new National qualifications and Standard Grade pass rates cannot be made, as a broad comparison, National 5 is the same level of challenge as Intermediate 2 and Standard Grade Credit.
Dr Allan said: “Congratulations to the thousands of young people who have worked so hard, their families who have supported them and the teachers who have worked tirelessly to prepare them. Today sees them well equipped to progress to new challenges, whatever those may be.
“Our education system has taken another significant step forward today. The new National qualifications represent a shift towards deeper learning and a greater emphasis on analysis, engagement and understanding. These are the qualities on which we will continue to strengthen our education system.
“Scotland’s teachers have been key to delivering our new curriculum and new qualifications. They have worked outstandingly hard and I thank them for all they have done. I know it has been a challenging year for them and, once again, I’ve been hugely impressed by their commitment to supporting Scotland’s young people.
“So many pupils have achieved strong grades in their Highers, Advanced Highers, Intermediates, Access and new Nationals – against very rigorous standards – and are now in a position to make exciting decisions about what they do next. My congratulations also go to the thousands of young people across Scotland who have achieved a wide variety of qualifications which meet a wider range of learners’ needs, such as SQA awards, National Progression Awards and Skills for Work and Personal Development.
“The fact that there has been such a marked increase in the number of Highers attained is a real success story. Students are now sitting a greater number of Highers, demonstrating real ambition and aspiration among young learners to achieve the best qualifications they can.
“I am also encouraged to see so many young people attaining National Qualifications, which are an important component within Curriculum for Excellence.
“This is a significant achievement for our learners and our schools, and clear evidence of continued improvement in Scottish education.
“As we celebrate these achievements I also offer my thanks to all of the parents and carers who have risen to the challenge of supporting them through their new qualifications.
“Clearly not everyone will have received the results they had hoped for, while others may simply be unsure of what to do next. Rest assured, help is available through the exam results helpline on 0808 100 8000 for those who may not have got what they needed.”
Larry Flanagan, general secretary of teachers trade union EIS, said: “Scotland’s pupils and teachers deserve high praise for a strong set of exam results which have been achieved during a very significant period of change for Scottish education.
“It is of great credit to the work of our schools, pupils and teachers that the diet has been so successful, at a time when budgets have been declining and workload pressures increasing.
“Pupils, parents and teachers should be extremely proud of this strong set of results and the EIS sends its congratulations to all pupils who have been successful in their exams this year.”
A total of 42,780 resulted awards were certificated for 8,402 candidates.
- By the end of S6 61% of all pupils achieved one or more Highers – a four percentage point improvement on last year and a 13 percentage point improvement since 2009.
- By the end of S5 54% of all pupils achieved one or more Highers – a two percentage point improvement on last year and a 12 percentage point improvement since 2009.
- Overall for S4 pupils who sat the new qualifications for the first time, 13,585 awards were certificated at the new National 5 level, 8,342 awards were certificated at the new National 4 level and 1,846 awards were certificated at the new National 3 level.
Councillor Paul Godzik, Education Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council, welcomed today’s results. He said: ““Recently published figures from Audit Scotland showed Edinburgh is outperforming similar city and neighbouring local authorities and early indications from the SQA exam results show that 2014 has been another really positive year for our pupils, with performance rising yet again.
“This year’s provisional results are very encouraging with 100% of pupils achieving an English qualification by the end of S5. By the end of S6, an impressive 61% achieved one or more Highers which is a 13 percentage point improvement since 2009.
“I want to congratulate all those who sat exams this year, and thanks must also go to all our teaching staff who have been working extremely hard for the introduction of the new National exams.
“Another key aim is to make sure all school leavers enter a positive destination of employment, training or further education. Initiatives such as the Edinburgh Guarantee are going a long way to making this a reality for many of our ex-pupils.
“This year a record 91% of young people achieved and sustained a positive destination. This is something we will continue to build on in the coming years and look forward to seeing many more placements and positive results.”
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