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Results day: Pass rates up but a quarter of pupils’ grades adjusted from teachers’ estimates

Brother and sister  Alex, 15, and Georgia  Douglas, 17, receive their results at Dundee High School.
Brother and sister Alex, 15, and Georgia Douglas, 17, receive their results at Dundee High School.

Pass rates have risen this year for the 138,000 youngsters across Scotland receiving results for Nationals, Highers and Advanced Highers.

Some young people are celebrating better than expected results, while others have already asked schools and colleges to appeal poorer than anticipated grades.

Overall, the pass rates rose to 81.1% for National 5s, 78.9% for Highers and 84.9% for Advanced Highers.

Last year’s rates were 78.2% for National 5s, 74.8% for Highers and 79.4% for Advanced Highers.

Higher pass rates had been in decline since 2016.

Exams due to be sat in May were cancelled for the first time in history, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead grades were estimated by teachers based on pupils’ coursework throughout the year and adjusted by Scottish Qualifications Authority moderators.

More than 133,000 results – a quarter of the total – were adjusted from teachers’ estimates, 93.1% of them down and 6.9% up.

Text and emails began arriving at 8am, informing pupils how they had performed, and certificates are being delivered by mail.

Dundee results under analysis

Dundee City Council children and families service convener Stewart Hunter congratulated youngsters on their achievements.

He said: “This year has presented our children and young people with a very challenging set of circumstances caused by the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“This year has presented our children and young people with a very challenging set of circumstances caused by the national response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Stewart Hunter, Dundee City Council

“Scottish exams were not able to go ahead in 2020 and teachers were asked to submit estimates of their pupils’ awards for graded courses.

“These were further scrutinised and adjusted by the Scottish Qualifications Authority to arrive at the results young people are receiving today.

“Young people across Dundee worked extremely hard to prepare for these awards and nearly 2,900 will receive results that will help them to plan for the next steps in their futures.

“I would like to congratulate them on their achievements and thank our school staff for their efforts, and our parents, carers and families for all the support they provide for their young people during this very stressful period.”

Dundee results are already being analysed and a report will be issued at a later date.

Angus pupils wished well

Results from the eight secondary schools in Angus are also under analysis.

The area’s children and learning convener Derek Wann said: “Session 2019-2020 will be remembered for so many reasons but for our young people studying National qualifications, the year did not finish as planned when exams were cancelled.

“For our young people, I hope your exam results are what you hope for and wish you good luck in your next steps, whether that’s staying on at school or moving on to your chosen career pathway.”

Scottish Qualifications Authority message

SQA chief executive Fiona Robertson also praised pupils’ efforts.

She said: “I want to congratulate on what you have achieved. I realise this has been a very unsettling time for you and your families but I hope you can have confidence your hard work has been recognised and rewarded through our qualifications system this year as in any year.”

The SQA has opened its free appeals service and Skills Development Scotland has opened its results helpline, which is available at 0808 100 800. It can also contacted via social media at My World of Work.

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