This year's exam pass rates have increased compared to the latest pre-pandemic year as Scotland returns to formal exams for the first time since 2019. 

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) results dropped when compared to the previous two years which saw a modified assessment, however, they remain up on 2019 - the last year which saw a conventional exams diet. 

Scotland's chief examining officer and SQA chief executive Fiona Robertson, therefore, labelled them a "strong set of results".

The 2022 National 5, Higher and Advanced pass rates, based on attainment of grades A to C, were 80.8 per cent, 78.9% and 81.3%, respectively.

Last year the lowest pass rate was recorded at 85.8% for the National 5 results. Meanwhile, in 2020 a U-turn by then Education Secretary John Swinney saw results based solely on teacher or lecturer judgement. 

This meant a National 5 pass rate of 89%, 89.3% Higher pass rate and 93.1% for Advanced Higher.

However, in the last year before Covid disruption to learning, 2019 results show National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher pass rates of 78.2%, 74.8% and 79.4%, respectively.

The SQA promised a "more generous approach" to grading as exams returned for the first time since the pandemic in recognition of the disruption to learning experienced by pupils over the past three years. 

Ms Robertson wrote in her report: "There is no doubt that the disruption caused by the global pandemic over the last two years continued to affect learners in 2022.

"The education system has taken steps to ensure the continuity of learning and teaching. SQA developed an assessment and awarding approach that has helped to address disruption to learning, but it has not been a normal year."

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The Herald:

Course assessments were modified slightly to reduce the workload on learners amid an ongoing impact of Covid on pupils' education. 

This included removing elements from exams and coursework, providing more choice in assessment and removing a topic from an exam. 

Revision support was also given to learners for the first time - including notice of content that would and would not feature in the exam. 

Scotland’s Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said: “This is one of the strongest-ever sets of results for any exam year, which is particularly impressive given the significant challenges learners have faced as a result of the pandemic.

“Pass rates for National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers have increased compared with 2019, with A passes also up, and skills-based qualifications are close to the highest-ever figure.

“It is important to note, though, that although 2022 saw a return to exams, it was not a return to normality. The approach to exams reflected the disruption to teaching and learning that young people faced and a wide-ranging package of support and modifications was put in place.

“I am confident that the approach, which was informed by views from across the education system, as well as learners, has delivered a credible, consistent and fair set of results for our young people.

“Indeed, universities have assured learners that they support the 2022 approach to assessment and industry leaders have spoken publicly about how much they value this year’s qualifications.”

Figures released by UCAS revealed a record number of Scots students were accepted into their first choice university after 60.1%  gained a place at their firm choice. 

In 2019, this number reached 57.5%. 

The number of students to have accepted a place to study in Scotland has also increased by 1740 on pre-pandemic levels.