This year, pass rates have gone up for all exams set by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) apart from Intermediate 2 and the Scottish Baccalaureate.
The largest jump was at Higher, where nearly 77% passed, compared to just 70% in 2000 when the new exams were first introduced.
While nowhere near the rapid increases in England, where rising A-level pass rates have attracted widespread criticism, the increases in the Higher pass rate since 2008 following a period of relative stability have prompted comment.
Closer study of the figures shows pass rates in individual subjects have fluctuated. The pass rate in Higher English and mathematics increased, but in history and physics a lower proportion of candidates passed this year compared to 2011.
Brian Boyd, emeritus professor of education at Strathclyde University, does not think exams are getting easier, but believes schools are getting better at teaching.
He said: "If you look at what happens in a schools, an inordinate amount of time is spent by pupils and teachers preparing for exams. What we know is that being successful in an examination does not indicate whether you will be successful in life."
Mr Boyd added: "We need to look at the fundamental aims of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), such as preparing confident pupils who are ready to contribute to society when they leave school, and ask whether it is about time we calibrated the exam system with those wider aims.
"The big challenge for the Scottish Government is to take a serious look at the Highers and ask whether they are fit for purpose any longer. My belief is that they are not telling us what we need to know anymore."
Amy Dalrymple, policy and research manager at the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, also believes the system should test more than knowledge and understanding.
She said: "A concern for us is whether school-leavers come equipped with core skills that are not necessarily tested by exams – such as project management, communication and teamworking.
"We hope CfE will deliver a different approach where learning centres of the individual and builds wider strengths that can translate into the workplace."
Michael Russell, the Education Secretary, said: "We want to ensure young Scots have an even greater platform to maximise their chances of success in the global jobs market."
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