Results for National Courses and Awards 2015

Students in exam hall

The Scottish Qualifications Authority today (Tuesday 4 August 2015) announces the results for National Courses and Awards 2015.

Results certificates are being sent to 142,862 candidates across Scotland. The candidates have been rewarded for completing coursework, exams and unit assessments throughout the academic year 2014-15 in a wide range of qualifications and subjects to suit all learners.

These include Access, Intermediates, Nationals, new and existing Highers and Advanced Highers. In addition, a range of Awards, Skills for Work, National Progression Awards and National Certificates are also being certificated today.

The standards of qualifications offered to our candidates remain as high in 2015 as they have in previous years. There are a number of changes both in the qualifications and in the wider education system as a result of Curriculum for Excellence (CfE). Variations in the mix of qualifications taken by candidates make direct year on year comparisons and comparisons between new and existing qualifications complex. 

For example, this is the second year of the National Courses and the first year of the new Higher qualification which ran alongside the existing Higher. This allowed schools and local authorities in consultation with parents and candidates to offer the most appropriate qualifications. This has resulted in significant variations in the entry patterns of existing and new Higher.  

This has been the final year of Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2 and the existing Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications. The new Advanced Higher qualifications will be available in the 2015-16 session.

 

Summary of entries, attainment and attainment rates for each National Qualification type

SCQF level

National Qualification

Entries

Attainment

Attainment Rate

SCQF 2

Access 2†

104

48

46.2%

 

National 2†

1,865

1,488

79.8%

SCQF 3

Access 3†

3,340

3,184

95.3%

 

National 3†

17,268

15,756

91.2%

SCQF 4

Intermediate 1*

1,553

1,170

75.3%

 

National 4†

130,876

122,071

93.3%

SCQF 5

Intermediate 2*

10,678

7,828

73.3%

 

National 5*

288,016

229,870

79.8%

SCQF 6

Existing Higher *

92,555

70,981

76.7%

 

New Higher*

107,295

85,019

79.2%

SCQF 7

Advanced Higher*

23,348

18,899

80.9%

 

Scottish Baccalaureate*

122

98

80.3%

*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 the SQA, I would like to congratulate all candidates on their achievements. We would also like to pay tribute to the commitment and support provided by those candidates’ parents, carers, teachers and lecturers, schools and colleges.

“The introduction of CfE has been one of the biggest changes to the Scottish education system for a generation. These results show that all of the hard work has been worthwhile with significant progress being made towards full implementation of CfE and the new qualifications. We also want to recognise the achievements of candidates in the full range of qualifications being awarded today. There is a broadening recognition of the different ways candidates can demonstrate their skills and achieve success, whether it be National 5, the new or existing Higher, Advanced Higher, Skills for Work or National Progression Awards.

“Employers require candidates to display a wide range of qualities. Our assessments and qualifications have been designed to provide people with the skills required to succeed today and in the future whether that be further study, training or employment.
“We also look to provide qualifications which are flexible and accessible to give individuals of all abilities different routes to success. The breadth of our qualifications allows candidates to decide, with their teachers and lecturers, which qualifications and levels they pursue, depending on what is right for them.

“I would also like to pay special tribute to the 15,000 ‘appointees’ – teachers, lecturers and subject specialists - who work with SQA, and play a significant role in monitoring, marking and quality assuring our assessments.  

“As in every year, we carry out a review of assessments to ensure candidates have been able to display their skills, knowledge and understanding. If required, grade boundaries are adjusted to take account of any assessments that were easier or more demanding than intended to ensure all candidates received the grades they deserved. This means that those who would have received a grade A, B, C or D last year would achieve the same grade if they had sat this year’s exam.”

English

Entries for existing Higher English and new Higher English were 14,207 and 21,147 respectively. The A-C attainment rate for existing Higher English was 76.5% and for new Higher English 80.6%.

There were 44,794 entries for National 5 English with an A-C attainment rate of 87%.
There were 1,742 entries for Intermediate 2 English with an A-C attainment rate of 78.8%.

The new Higher English was introduced successfully, building on the strong foundations of the new curriculum and qualifications at other SCQF levels. At National 5, candidates continued to cope well. Performance was as expected at both SCQF levels.

Maths

The number of entries for existing Higher Maths and new Higher Maths was 10,854 and 10,220 respectively. The A-C attainment rate for existing Higher Maths was 73.1% and for new Higher Maths 70.8%.

There were 36,475 entries for National 5 Maths with an A-C attainment rate of 61.8%. There were 2,299 entries for Intermediate 2 Maths with an A-C attainment rate of 53.8%.There were 2,739 entries for National 5 Lifeskills Maths with an A-C attainment rate of 30.8%.

The existing Higher Maths assessments were reviewed and found to be of the appropriate level of demand.

In the new Higher Maths exam, the assessment proved to be more demanding than intended and therefore the grade boundaries were reduced. This ensured that candidates received the grades they deserved. For instance if a candidate receiving a C last year were to have sat the exam this year, they would also have achieved a C.

The National 5, Intermediate 2 Maths and Lifeskills Maths assessments were reviewed and found to be of the appropriate level of demand.

New qualifications

CfE 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.

National 5 and the new Higher qualifications include final exams and courses assessments to allow candidates to demonstrate a broad range of skills and knowledge.

In addition to the Nationals, Highers and Advanced Highers, SQA provides a suite of qualifications that meet a wider range of learners’ interest and abilities, including new awards in areas such as leadership, employability, personal finance, as well as a range of Skills for Work courses. These are part of a broadening of the curriculum and also support the recommendations put forward by the Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce.

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.

We will continue to support schools and colleges in the 2015-16 session, by delivering a comprehensive range of events to help the understanding of standards.

SQA Awards

For the third year attainment figures are included in the statistics, for those candidates who have achieved an SQA Award. In total, 16,835 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 second year, attainment figures are included for National Progression Awards (NPAs) and National Certificates (NCs). In total, 9,608 NPAs and 7,488 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.

 

Attainment

 

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

SCQF level 1

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

207

178

152

-

-

SCQF level 2

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

493

301

130

22

-

National Progression Awards

64

101

121

87

67

SCQF level 3

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

3,205

2,263

1,216

563

191

National Certificates

7

17

6

4

-

National Progression Awards

119

161

129

141

73

SCQF level 4

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

9,673

7,887

4,542

2,177

1,012

National Certificates

273

89

130

167

73

National Progression Awards

4,336

4,111

4,153

3,788

4,010

SCQF level 5

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

1,952

1,514

578

199

119

National Certificates

3,219

2,582

2,454

2,360

1,533

National Progression Awards

4,120

4,206

3,685

3,448

2,625

SCQF level 6

 

 

 

 

 

Awards

1,305

801

588

419

157

National Certificates

3,989

2,729

2,664

3,025

1,698

National Progression Awards

969

701

554

463

378

 

 

 

 

 

 

TOTAL

33,931

27,641

21,102

16,863

11,936

Skills for Work & Personal Development

Skills for Work and Personal Development courses – available across SCQF levels 2-6, are also included in this year’s statistics. In total, 9,980 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 ready for employment, and contribute as 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.

 

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Entries

11,883

12,065

11,617

10,781

10,052

Attainment

9,980

9,465

9,198

7,986

6,990

Attainment rate

84.0%

78.5%

79.2%

74.1%

 69.5%