Advanced Higher

This has been a good year for the reputation of SQA’s Advanced Highers. UCAS increased the tariff scores for Advanced Higher grades A, B, and C GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window., and Advanced Highers will also become a key component of the new Scottish Baccalaureates.

While the Baccalaureate will be available in science or languages, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning, Fiona Hyslop, has not ruled out Baccalaureates being extended to other subject areas.

The aims of the Scottish Baccalaureate in Science and the Scottish Baccalaureate in Languages are to:

All of these fit well with the Scottish Government’s skills strategy GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window., the aims of Curriculum for Excellence ICON: Internal Link, and the Government’s science framework GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window..

A key aim of the Scottish Government’s skills strategy was to increase the number of highly qualified people who can help to create a more successful Scotland and contribute to Scotland’s economic growth. Advanced Highers have a key part to play here. The chart below shows Advanced Higher uptake in 2008 as being the highest yet since its introduction in 2000, at 18,854.

Advanced Higher Entries 2004-08

The table below shows the five subjects with the highest uptake in 2008. All of these subjects had increased their entry numbers compared with 2007.


Subject 2008 Entries Percentage change, 2007–2008
Mathematics 2,752 +11%
Chemistry 2,143 +5%
Biology 1,955 +1%
English 1,713 +6%
Physics 1,403 +2%

The vast majority — 98% — of entries are from learners in sixth year. However, Advanced Highers are also studied at college, and can be done either as qualifications in their own right or as stepping stones to further study — for example, a Higher National Diploma. Advanced Highers are at the same level on the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework as Higher National Certificates. Moreover, some universities offer applicants who have achieved Advanced Highers direct entry to the second year of degree programmes — known as ‘Advanced Standing’.

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