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More Scottish pupils pass exams

Pupils across Scotland are receiving their exam results as scheduled - although thousands of them had already been notified of their grades a day early by mistake.

The results, which saw record numbers pass their Highers, have been posted out to almost 160,000 students. However, an error meant that almost 29,000 received theirs via text message on Wednesday.

The pass rate for Highers - the equivalent of A-levels - is 75.2%, up 0.5% on last year, said the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

The Standard Grade - the equivalent of GCSEs - pass rate remains at 98.5% and the Advanced Higher rate is 79.3%, up 1.8% on last year. Slightly fewer pupils sat exams this year, down 101 from 160,745 to 159,744.

Results are being received by post, text message and e-mail, with almost 36,000 pupils choosing to get their results electronically. All 29,863 pupils who chose to receive their results by text message were sent them on Wednesday in error. The SQA said it is making inquiries with the external contractor which sends out the texts on its behalf.

Scottish Education Secretary Michael Russell said: "I would like to congratulate Scottish pupils for their outstanding achievements in this year's exams. The increased attainment levels shows that all the hours of hard work and study students put in can really pay off."

Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive and Scotland's chief examining officer, said increased attainment levels reflect "the results of the changes teachers have been making to learning and teaching approaches" as part of "the ongoing Curriculum for Excellence development process".

Pass rates across all qualifications were relatively stable. The proportion of pupils receiving Standard Grade credit-level (the top rating) passes rose to 46.7%, general-level passes stayed at 40.3% and foundation-level passes dipped slightly to 11.5%. Passes at Intermediate 1 level rose 3.2%, Intermediate 2 rose 1.3%, Access 2 dropped 0.3% and Access 3 rose 1.1%.

More pupils did the new Scottish Baccalaureate qualifications, now running for the second year. Of these, science and languages attracted 174 entries. Last year's total was 138. The overall Baccalaureate pass rate was 80.5%, representing 68 passes and 72 passes with distinction.

For the first time pupils had to do a mandatory paper on Scottish history as part of their history Higher, which had questions on the wars of independence 1286-1328; the Treaty of Union 1689-1740; and migration and empire 1830-1939.

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