Last Updated on August 15, 2023 by Robert C. Hoopes
Scotland Sees Drop in Exam Pass Rates, But Remains Higher Than Pre-Pandemic Levels
More than 144,000 young people in Scotland are receiving their exam results for National 4s and 5s, Highers, and Advanced Highers. While the pass rate for these exams has fallen, it is important to note that it still remains higher than pre-pandemic levels.
The proportion of pupils awarded an A, B, or C at Higher has dropped from 78.9% in 2022 and 89.3% in 2020 to 77.1% this year. Similarly, the pass rate for National 5 qualifications stands at 78.8%, down from 80.8% in 2022 and 85.8% in 2021. At the Advanced Higher level, 79.8% passed, which is a decline from 81.3% in 2022 and 93.1% in 2020.
This decline has raised concerns among various political parties in Scotland. The Scottish Conservatives have highlighted the widening attainment gap between students from different socioeconomic backgrounds. Similarly, Scottish Labour has accused the Scottish government of failing to address this gap.
However, Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth defended the government’s record by noting the narrowing of the attainment gap since 2019. Gilruth also emphasized the positive aspects of this year’s results. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Gilruth highlighted a record number of passes at National 5 and the highest number of vocational and technical qualifications awarded.
In order to provide recourse for students who are unhappy with their grades, an appeals system has been established. Students can submit an appeal if they believe their grades do not accurately reflect their abilities.
Support and guidance are also available for students during this time. The SQA’s Candidate Advice line and Skills Development Scotland’s results helpline are available to students who need assistance with their next steps.
Moreover, it is essential for students to prioritize their mental health during this results process. They are encouraged to seek support from relevant organizations and to take care of their well-being.
Overall, while there has been a decline in pass rates in Scotland, it is important to assess the situation within the context of the ongoing pandemic. The government, educators, and support systems continue to work towards narrowing the attainment gap and ensuring that students receive the necessary assistance.