Record number of Higher passes awarded to Scottish pupils

There were a record number of Higher passes. Credit: PA

Scottish pupils have been awarded a record number of Highers this year, after sitting the new version of the qualification for the same time.

But there are still question marks over the fairness of the new system, and how comparable the new results are, to ones in previous years.

Almost 143,000 students are receiving their exam results today after sitting the new Highers for the first year and National 4 and 5 qualifications for the second year.

Changes to the qualifications were made as part of the Curriculum for Excellence reforms.

Pupils were able to choose to take the older system of Highers.

Prior to the individual results being released, figures from the Scottish Qualifications Authority show a record number of Higher passes:


Higher passes. An increase of 5.5% on 2014


Pupils sat the new Highers, with a pass rate of 79.2%


Pupils sat the existing Highers, with a pass rate of 76.7%, down on the 2014 rate of 77.1%

There were also some particularly impressive increases:


Increase in Higher English passes, to 27,902


Increase in Higher Modern Language passes, to 7,419

Critics are likely to point to these large increases, when questioning the fairness of the new system.

  • National 4 - 93.3% pass rate, with 114,173 passes

  • National 5 - 79.8% pass rate, with 229,870 passes

Advanced Higher passes also increased by 4% to a record level of 18,899, with a pass rate of 80.9%.

The checks and balances in place ensure that students who would have gained a particular grade in a qualification in any previous year will still have done so at the same grade this year...

Education Secretary Angela Constance