Results for 2018 National Courses and Awards

7 August 2018

  • A-C attainment rate for National 5 (77.4%) has reduced by 2.0 percentage points compared to  2017
  • A-C attainment rates at Higher (76.8%) and Advanced Higher (80.5%) are broadly similar compared to 2017
  • Attainment of SQA Awards, National Progression Awards, and National Certificates is 41,526 compared to 41,483 in 2017
  • The number of Course entries for National Qualifications is 634,331, representing a 3.5% decrease compared to the number of Course entries for National Qualifications in 2017
  • Nearly 59,000 candidates receiving their results by text and/or e-mail

The Scottish Qualifications Authority announces the results for National Courses and Awards 2018 today (Tuesday 7 August 2018).

Results certificates have been sent to more than 135,000 candidates across Scotland. Candidates have been rewarded for completing coursework, exams and unit assessments for the 2017-18 academic year in a wide range of qualifications and subjects at all levels.

These qualifications and subjects include Nationals, Highers and Advanced Highers for candidates in schools and colleges. In addition, a range of Awards, Skills for Work courses, National Progression Awards and National Certificates are also being certificated today. These are part of a broad offering of qualifications available to learners which support the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) programme.

Throughout the year, SQA also awards a number of other qualifications such as Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), Higher National Certificates (HNCs) and Higher National Diplomas (HNDs), which support the Scottish Government’s youth employment strategy. Our qualifications are also being taken as part of Foundation Apprenticeships, which are available to school learners, allowing them to complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship and spend part of their school week at college and with a local employer.

Dr Janet Brown, SQA's chief executive and Scotland's chief examining officer, said:

“Today’s results are testament to the hard work and dedication of the thousands of candidates across Scotland and we’d like to congratulate everyone for their efforts.

“In today’s fast-changing world, the diversity of qualifications offered by SQA ensures young people can display the skills and knowledge to meet the needs of employers, training providers and educators.

“It is also encouraging and important to note the different paths candidates have taken in their pursuit of success this year. Whatever candidates decide to do from today onwards – whether onto work, training, or into further education – they should be immensely proud of their achievements.

“This year we’ve worked with around 14,000 ‘appointees’ – teachers, lecturers, subject specialists, and invigilators who help us to set, monitor and mark our qualifications and we thank them for their professionalism, expertise, and commitment.”

Summary of entries, attainment and attainment rates for each National Qualification type, 2018 and 2017

SCQF level National Qualification 2018 Entries 2018 Attainment 2018 Attainment rate 2017 Entries 2017 Attainment 2017 Attainment Rate
SCQF 2 National 2† 2,077 1,655 79.7% 1,896 1,547 81.6%
SCQF 3 National 3† 17,646 16,138 91.5% 17,114 15,543 90.8%
  Skills for Work† 11 7 63.6% 15 15 100.0%
SCQF 4 National 4† 106,033 96,613 91.1% 116,032 107,631 92.8%
  Skills for Work† 3,601 2,855 79.3% 3,767 2,982 79.2%
SCQF 5 National 5* 281,785 218,201 77.4% 293,220 233,005 79.5%
  Skills for Work† 6,632 5,702 86.0% 6,126 5,311 86.7%
SCQF 6 Higher* 191,951 147,419 76.8% 194,813 150,010 77.0%
  Skills for Work† 264 215 81.4% 433 357 82.4%
SCQF 7 Advanced Higher* 24,331 19,585 80.5% 24,112 19,283 80.0%
Total   634,331     657,528    
  Scottish Baccalaureate* 155 120 77.4% 161 138 85.7%

* For National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher, which are graded, the attainment and attainment rate is based on Grade A-C attainment. The Scottish Baccalaureate attainment is based on the total number of passes (“Distinction” or “Pass” outcomes).

† For National 2 to National 4, and Skills for Work courses, which are ungraded, the attainment and attainment rate is based on entries which have resulted in a pass.

English

There were 44,477 entries at National 5, reduced from 46,273 in 2017 with an A-C attainment rate of 84.8%, a decrease from 87.2% last year. At Higher level there were 36,185 entries this year compared to 35,716 in 2017, with an A-C attainment rate of 75.9%, a decrease from 77.3% in 2017. 

Mathematics

There were 41,590 entries at National 5, reduced from 42,191 in 2017, with an A-C attainment rate of 64.7%, an increase of 0.8 percentage points compared to the 63.8% observed last year. At Higher level there were 18,753 entries this year compared to 18,861 in 2017, with an A-C attainment rate of 74.5% compared to 74.0% in 2017.

Applications of Mathematics

In August 2017, Lifeskills Mathematics was renamed to Applications of Mathematics, to more accurately reflect the content of the course.

There were 2,482 entries at National 5, compared to 2,599 in 2017 with an A-C attainment rate of 57.8%, an increase from 46.5% last year.

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

Attainment figures for National Progression Awards (NPAs) and National Certificates (NCs) are also included. In total, 12,474 NPAs and 6,201 NCs have been achieved compared to 11,082 NPAs and 6,622 NCs in 2017. 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.

SQA Awards

Attainment figures for SQA Awards are included in the statistics. In total, 22,851 have been achieved, compared to 23,779 in 2017.

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.

Summary of attainment for Awards, National Progression Awards and National Certificates, at each SCQF level, 2014 to 2018

  Attainment
  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
SCQF level 1          
Awards 386 290 283 207 178
SCQF level 2          
Awards 664 1,167 750 493 301
National Progression Awards 121 88 77 64 101
SCQF level 3          
Awards 3,937 4,303 3,863 3,205 2,263
National Certificates 0 1 18 7 17
National Progression Awards 142 177 135 119 161
SCQF level 4          
Awards 9,851 10,834 11,391 9,673 7,887
National Certificates 213 345 371 273 89
National Progression Awards 4,759 4,803 4,958 4,336 4,111
SCQF level 5          
Awards 3,755 3,662 2,907 1,952 1,514
National Certificates 2,450 2,691 4,103 3,219 2,582
National Progression Awards 4,604 4,395 4,958 4,120 4,206
SCQF level 6          
Awards 4,258 3,523 2,710 1,305 801
National Certificates 3,538 3,585 4,920 3,989 2,729
National Progression Awards 2,848 1,619 1,611 969 701
TOTAL 41,526 41,483 43,055 33,931 27,641

Skills for Work

Skills for Work courses – available across SCQF levels 2-6, are also included in the attainment statistics. In total, 8,779 Skills for Work 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, and 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.

  2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Entries 10,508 10,341 10,008 11,883 12,065
Attainment 8,779 8,665 8,513 9,980 9,465
Attainment rate 83.5% 83.8% 85.1% 84.0% 78.5%

The Attainment Summary is available here (305 KB).

Visit our Statistics section for more information.