Results for National Courses and Awards 2014

Students with certificates

The Scottish Qualifications Authority today (Tuesday 5 August 2014) announces details of the results for National Courses and Awards 2014.

SQA qualifications, highly regarded across the world for their consistent standards, continue to be a valuable asset to those who achieve them. They prepare candidates for life in general as well as for progression into further study, training or employment.

Result certificates are being sent to 146,181 candidates across Scotland. The candidates have been rewarded for completing coursework, exams and unit assessments throughout the academic year 2013-14 in a wide range of qualifications and subjects, to suit all learners.

These include Access, Intermediates, Highers and Advanced Highers – and, for the first time, the new Nationals which support Curriculum for Excellence. In addition a range of Awards, Skills for Work, National Progression Awards and National Certificates are also being certificated today.

Whilst the standards of qualifications at SCQF levels 3 to 5 remain as high in 2014 as they have in previous years, there are several changes both in the qualifications and in the wider education system as a result of Curriculum for Excellence that mean that the results published today look different from previous years. These new National Courses have been introduced on a phased basis, by level, as learners experiencing Curriculum for Excellence, move through the school.

In the 2014-15 session, National 2 to National 5 and the new Higher will be available for those in S4 and S5 ensuring good progression from their Broad General Education. Next year will be the final year that the existing Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and Higher qualifications will be available for those who have followed the previous 5-14 curriculum.

In the 2015-16 session, the new National 2 to National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications will be available. The existing Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications will no longer be available.

During this transition period where there is a mixture of existing and new qualifications direct comparisons year on year will be extremely complex.
Summary of entries, attainment and attainment rates for each National Qualification type:

SCQF level National Qualification Entries Attainment Attainment Rate
SCQF 2 Access 2† 416 262 63.0%
  National 2† 1,217 896 73.6%
SCQF 3 Access 3† 10,939 10,391 95.0%
  National 3† 16,587 14,898 89.8%
SCQF 4 Intermediate 1* 18,679 13,666 73.2%
  National 4† 122,716 114,173 93.0%
SCQF 5 Intermediate 2* 97,122 75,689 77.9%
  National 5* 213,595 173,131 81.1%
SCQF 6 Higher* 191,850 147,899 77.1%
SCQF 7 Advanced Higher* 22,430 18,171 81.0%
  Scottish Baccalaureate* (SCQF Level 7) 176 144 81.8%

*For National 5, Intermediate 1-2, Higher and Advanced Higher, which are graded, the attainment and attainment rate is based on Grade A-C attainment.

†For National 2-4, Access 2-3 courses, which are ungraded, the attainment and attainment rate is based on entries which have resulted in a pass.

Dr Janet Brown, SQA's chief executive and Scotland's chief examining officer, said: "On behalf of everyone at SQA, I congratulate all candidates on their achievements.

“We would like to wish all candidates continued success as they set out on a wide range of different pathways – whether that is moving into the workplace or a training scheme, returning to school, or taking up a college or university place.

“In addition to attainment in the wide range of existing qualifications, including Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher, this has been the first year of the new Nationals. These new qualifications have been designed to broaden the quality of learning.”

The qualifications were set, monitored, marked and quality assured to national standards by almost 15,000 ‘appointees’ – teachers, lecturers and other subject specialists – employed by SQA.

Candidates with active MySQA accounts will receive their results by text message and/or by email. This year, 37,237 candidates have opted for this service. All candidates will receive their certificates by post.

Dr Janet Brown continued, “I’d like to give special thanks to all teachers, lecturers, parents, carers, SQA staff and the 15,000 appointees, including nominees, for all their hard work and commitment in developing and implementing the new system, at the same time as delivering an existing set of qualifications.

"There has clearly been a tremendous amount of work put in by candidates across Scotland and their commitment has been rewarded. It reflects a growing understanding of the value placed on qualifications in what remains a tough economic environment."

New qualifications

Curriculum for Excellence represents a different approach to learning and assessment and in the way education is delivered. This fresh approach to learning has required new assessment methods and qualifications to ensure continuity of learning and assessment as young people have moved from their broad general education through to their senior phase.

In designing the new qualifications SQA’s key aim has been to help schools and colleges prepare young people to thrive in this fast changing world and to give them the confidence to use their skills and knowledge to tackle new things.

The new qualifications provide a balance of skills and knowledge and with more flexible assessment that allows teachers more scope to ensure that assessment supports the learning.

Although there are still final exams at National 5, most courses include more coursework than under the previous system, to reflect achievement across the whole school year.

In addition to the Nationals, SQA provides a broad range of qualifications that meet a wider range of learners’ needs, including new awards in areas such as leadership, employability, personal finance, as well as a range of Skills for Work courses.

This wide range of qualifications will help young people reach their full potential as they progress from their broad, general education through to college, university, other learning, and employment.

SQA Awards

For the second year attainment figures are included in the statistics, for those candidates who have achieved an SQA Award. In total, 12,944 Awards have been achieved.

SQA Awards are designed to develop and provide evidence of specific skills that will help learners in the world of work and everyday life. Awards include Modern Languages for Life and Work, Employability, Scottish Studies and Enterprise.

National Progression Awards (NPAs) and National Certificates (NCs)

For the first year, attainment figures are included for National Progression Awards (NPAs) and National Certificates (NCs). In total, 9,280 NPAs and 5,417 NCs have been achieved.

NPAs are designed to assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, such as Construction and Childcare.

National Certificates are designed to prepare people for employment, career development or progression to more advanced study in areas such as Sound Production and Fabrication and Welding Engineering.

Skills for Work & Personal Development

Skills for Work and Personal Development courses – available across SCQF level 2-6, are also included in this year’s statistics. In total, more than 9,467 Skills for Work and Personal Development courses have been achieved.

Skills for Work courses focus on the world of work and the generic employability skills needed for success in the workplace. The courses offer opportunities for learners to acquire these critical generic employability skills through a variety of practical experiences that are linked to a particular vocational area such as construction, hairdressing, hospitality.

Young people taking one of these Skills for Work Courses will normally spend some of their time at a local college, other training provider or employer.

Personal Development courses aim to help learners become employable, contributing and independent members of society through the development of transferable life skills. The courses encourage candidates to build a range of personal, social and vocational skills such as evaluating, planning, reviewing, managing tasks and working with others.