FOI20/21 140 Attainment Statistics by Male and Female

Date published: 20/11/2020

FOI reference: FOI20/21 140

Date received: 19/10/2020

Date responded: 20/11/2020

Information requested

May I ask that these data be supplied under a FOI request to SQA as a public authority as an alternative please. My understanding is that this route removes the risk of people misunderstanding the information, in the way you set out, as a factor you need to consider.


Specifically the request is for the SCQF level 6 Higher and SCQF level 7 Advanced Higher grade distributions by subject and sex, as reported here -

Male Attainment Statistics in August 2020

Female Attainment Statistics in August 2020

but for the grade distribution resulting from the 4 August ACM process, please see the distribution reported for men and women in aggregate.


A request for information under either of the Freedom of Information Acts in the UK is a request to put the information into the public domain where it can then be interpreted and used for any purpose.    SQA has a responsibility to ensure that any information about candidate attainment that is available in the public domain is accurate in terms of the grades awarded and certificated.

SQA has published a summary analysis contained in the Equality Impact Assessment for the Alternative Certification Model published on 4 August  and this can be accessed at: 2020 Alternative Certification Model: Equality Impact Assessment 

However as we have already indicated to you SQA has no plans to publish a breakdown of the ACM grades by sex in the format specified by you in your request for several reasons.  Firstly, to do so would result in inaccurate information about candidate achievement being deliberately published by SQA which would not be in the public interest.   Secondly, under the Alternative Certification Model the moderation was carried out without reference to  any personal characteristics of candidates. Therefore, to imply any causal effect was attributable to differences in sex would be inaccurate.   Thirdly, regardless of the awarding process used to generate the candidate achievement in 2020, the total number of awards made by sex for each subject was unaffected.