27 September 2005
A Scottish Executive National Statistics Publication
ISSN 1479 7569
ISBN 0 7559 2741 9 (Web Only Publication)
This document is also available in pdf format (356k)
The tables are available in Excel Spreadsheet format (72k)
This Statistics Publication Notice presents national and education authority level information on the cumulative attainment of National Qualifications by all pupils in publicly funded secondary schools. It updates Statistics Publication Notice " SQA Examination Results in Scottish Schools: 2003/04" published on 29 September 2004.
The main findings are:
- Overall attainment in Scottish schools in 2005 was broadly similar to the levels attained in previous years. The figures are not directly comparable because the 2005 figures are before appeals whereas figures for previous years include successful appeals.
- In 2005, 90 per cent of pupils gained awards in both English and Maths at SCQF level 3 or better by the end of S4. Thirty-four per cent attained five or more awards at SCQF level 5 or better by the end of S4.
- By the end of S5, 22 per cent of the previous year's S4 cohort attained three or more awards at SCQF level 6 or better. Nine per cent attained five or more awards at SCQF level 6 or better.
- By the end of S6, 19 per cent of the relevant S4 roll attained five or more awards at SCQF level 6 or better. Twelve per cent attained one or more award at SCQF level 7 or better.
- A higher proportion of females than males achieved passes at all SCQF levels, in all stages.
The following tables are available:
Table 1 SQA Attainment in publicly funded secondary schools by the end of S4, by gender.
Table 2 SQA Attainment in publicly funded secondary schools by the end of S5, by gender.
Table 3 SQA Attainment in publicly funded secondary schools by the end of S6, by gender.
Table 4 SQA Attainment in publicly funded secondary schools by the end of S4, by education authority.
Table 5 SQA Attainment in publicly funded secondary schools by the end of S5, by education authority.
Table 6 SQA Attainment in publicly funded secondary schools by the end of S6, by education authority.
1. National Statistics Statement
This is a National Statistics publication. National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality assurance reviews to ensure that they meet customer needs. They are produced free from any political interference.
2. Sources and Definitions
Data on National Qualifications were obtained from the Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA). They do not take into account confirmed corrections to certification post August 2005.
School roll figures were obtained from the Scottish Executive School Census as at September in the relevant year. Pupils entering or leaving the school after Census date may affect the percentages given for examination attainment. Roll figures include pupils in mainstream classes and in integrated SEN units.
Candidate Stage data ( i.e. S4, S5, S6) was obtained, for the majority, from schools' management information systems. Stage was otherwise estimated to within approximately 0.5% chance of error.
National and education authority averages do not include independent or special schools. Education authority averages include education authority secondary schools only, whereas national averages include all publicly funded secondary schools.
The figures represent cumulative attainment by the end of each stage. For example, figures showing attainment by the end of S4 may include the results of Standard Grade or Intermediate courses completed by the same pupils when they were in S3.
The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ( SCQF) is used as the basis for reporting attainment. The SCQF levels are shown below for information.
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
Advanced Higher @ A-C
CSYS @ A-C
Higher @ A-C
SCE Higher @ A-C
Standard Grade @ 1-2
Intermediate 2 @ A-C
Standard Grade @ 3-4
Intermediate 1 @ A-C
Standard Grade @ 5-6
Access 3 Cluster
From August 2004, candidates were able to achieve a grade D in their national courses. This replaces the 'Compensatory Award' which existed previously, whereby pupils who narrowly failed to pass the external assessment of a national course, but passed all the relevant national units, were awarded a 'compensatory' A at the level of course below the one undertaken. However, whilst a recognition of candidate achievement, the new grade is not a pass award. As a result, there will be a small decline in the reported overall attainment of pupils in terms of SCQF levels. For comparative purposes, compensatory awards attained in previous years have been removed from the relevant historical data that is published and the figures re-calculated to allow accurate year on year comparisons.
These figures only include Standard Grade awards at 1-6. Candidates are awarded a grade dependant on their performance against set criteria and there are 3 levels of award - credit (grades 1&2), general (grades 3&4) and foundation (grades 5&6). A '7' is awarded where a candidate completes/ passes the course but not at a level of performance required to gain one of the other 6 grades.
In order to record the attainment of an entire cohort, attainment in S5 and S6 is reported as a percentage of the relevant S4 roll. For example, attainment in S5 in 2005 is calculated as a percentage of the September S4 roll in 2003. S6 attainment is calculated from the September S4 roll in 2002.
Awards are credited to the presenting centre only. Exam results may be affected by pupils who are presented for examinations at Further Education colleges.
Staying on rates are calculated as the estimated January roll in S5 divided by the September S4 roll in the previous year. The estimated January roll in S5 is calculated by subtracting the number of first term leavers in S5 from the September S5 roll. The S6 staying on rate is calculated by dividing the September S6 roll by the S4 roll two years before.
Examination results are an important indicator of performance, but not one that gives the full picture of education. These results should be considered alongside other indicators of pupils' progress, such as the quality of the learning experience and the ethos of the school.
Sometimes differences in the patterns of results from year to year may be due to fluctuations in pupils' abilities in different year groups rather than to any underlying trend in school performance. Furthermore, as already stated, examination results for 2005 are pre-appeals whereas results for 2003 and 2004 are post-appeals. In past years, the post-appeal figures are generally no more than one percentage point higher than the equivalent pre-appeal figure.
Some schools make provision for pupils with special educational needs either within their mainstream roll or in integrated SEN units. These pupils can have a significant effect on attainment patterns. However, the overall effect is heavily dependent on the number of pupils and the nature of their needs.
A low staying-on rate to S5 and S6 might be part of the explanation for a low percentage of awards.
School level information will be published on www.scottishschoolsonline.gov.uk in December. A more detailed analysis of examination results, including trends in post-appeals attainment, will be published around March 2006.
Copies of the tables are available on the Scottish Executive's website at www.scotland.gov.uk. Public enquiries (non-media) about the information contained in this Statistics Publication Notice should be addressed to Sara Conroy, Assistant Statistician, The Scottish Executive Education Department, Education Statistics, Area 1-B South, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ. Tel. (0131) 244 4933 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Media enquiries about the information in this Statistics Publication Notice should be addressed to Marion MacKay (0131) 244 3070.