Record pass rates for Scottish Higher and Standard Grades

by Emily

Hot on the heels of the news that our primary school children have missed the mark in their English SATs come some happy tidings. Higher and Standard Grade pass rates for Scottish pupils have reached record levels.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has confirmed that the pass rate for the 159,901 students sitting Scottish Highers is 74.2% - a 0.8% increase on last year. The pass rate amongst Standard Grade pupils was 98.5%, up from 98% last year.

In total, exams for 67 subjects were taken by Higher pupils and there was a slight increase in the number of passes for English: from 68.3% in 2008 to 68.9%. However, the Maths pass rate fell from 71.6% to 69.7%.

Pass results for Standard Grade English were unchanged at 98.7%, while the number of Maths passes rose from 98.7% to 99.3%. Just under half of the entries (46%) were awarded a credit level (grades 1 and 2).

Predictably, these results have prompted the usual debate about exams getting easier. Is that true? Or are our young people simply reaping the rewards of the hard work they've put into their studies?