Pass rates above pre-pandemic levels.
Students getting their exam results today should be very proud of their achievements, Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth has said, with pass rates remaining above pre-pandemic levels.
Data published by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) showed the overall pass rate for National 5, Highers and Advanced Highers has increased from the 2019 pre-pandemic level, with a record number of passes in an exam year achieved at National 5.
The number of vocational and technical qualifications achieved has also grown to a record high this year – with more than 72,000 qualifications awarded in 2023, an increase of 12.3% from 2022.
The poverty-related attainment gap remains narrower than it was in 2019 across National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers.
Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said:
“I want to offer my congratulations to all of you who have worked so hard and demonstrated so much resilience not just this year but over the course of your studies. Today is all about celebrating your achievements and you should be incredibly proud of all you have accomplished.
“I would also like to send my sincere thanks and gratitude for the continued dedication and commitment of those in our education system – thank you to all of Scotland’s teachers, lecturers, support staff as well as parents and carers for supporting our young people.
“There is much to celebrate in what is another strong set of results showing a clear and continuing recovery from the pandemic – with pass rates at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher above the 2019 pre-pandemic level, a record number of passes at National 5 and the highest number of vocational and technical qualifications ever awarded.
“While we know that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted young people from more disadvantaged backgrounds, these results show that the gap in attainment levels between the least and most deprived areas remains narrower than it was in 2019. We are determined to build on the progress that has been made and we are investing a record £1 billion in the Scottish Attainment Challenge during this parliamentary term.
“For those who don’t get the results they were looking for, a free and direct appeals service will give all young people the right to request a review of their marked exam papers or coursework for their National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results this year. Additionally, as you consider your next steps there is help available to guide you. The Skills Development Scotland Careers Helpline can offer practical information and careers advice as well as support for wellbeing. The SQA helpline is also open and can help students and their families with queries relating to the Scottish Qualifications Certificates.”
‘Pre-pandemic’ refers to 2019 results.
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