A high school student in the Western Isles has written a two-page letter addressed to Education Secretary John Swinney after receiving “unjust” exam results on Tuesday.

The island teenager, from Benbecula, said she was “devastated” and her results were “nothing like she had expected”, causing her to “lose confidence”.

Eva Peteranna, 17, intended to write simply to vent her frustrations, but posted the letter on Twitter after being persuaded to send it by her mother.

The letter reads: “Growing up on the islands we were always told that we needed to work harder than those on the mainland if we want to achieve our goals but also that we should never let it get in the way of where we want to go in life. 

“As a pupil who has always been determined to go to university and work in my dream job in the medical field, I worked hard.”

Eva enclosed a table of her predicted National 5 grades against those achieved, as well as both sets of grades for Higher.

Speaking of her achieved National 5 grades, she wrote: “From these results you can see that in most cases I achieved or even outperformed my predictions by up to two grades.

“Due to me outperforming many of my predictions last year, I was confident that I could achieve AAABB in my Highers this year.”

But Eva – who had her heart set on studying at the University of Glasgow – said she was left “shaking” after opening her results letter on Tuesday.

She continued: “In my 5th year in high school I was even more determined to maintain my high grades to make getting into my preferred university as easy as possible for me.

“I decided to further most of my National 5 classes and pick up two crash Highers which had not been available to me at a National 5 level.

“I spent most evenings staying behind after school for extra tuition where possible to make sure I understood everything taught during that day.

“On August 4, 2020 I received the results given to me by the SQA and to say I am devastated is an understatement.

“To have my grades knocked down so significantly has not only made me have to completely reconsider my career path but has also made me lose confidence in myself.”

READ MORE: Petition launched after grades awarded based on school performance

And Eva’s story is not the only one of its kind.

Shortly after results were released on Tuesday, outraged pupils across the country took to social media to express their anger and a petition was launched to protest what has been described as a “classist” system of grading.

The pass rate of pupils in the most deprived data zones was reduced by 15.2% from teacher estimates after the exam board’s moderation.

In contrast, the pass rate for pupils from the most affluent backgrounds dropped by only 6.9%.

Speaking to The Herald, Eva said: “From when exams were cancelled we were told by the government that everyone would receive fair results.

“I was extremely disappointed when I opened my results because even through it all I still believed that myself and my class mates would still receive what we deserved and had worked for.

“My whole body was shaking when I saw what I had been given, as none of my results were anything like what I had expected or had been discussed with me by my teachers.

“I felt so powerless.”

In her letter to the Education Secretary, Eva also points out the perceived “discriminatory” marking system of having pass rates reduced for the school’s background and area.

She said: “It is clear to me that my grades have been significantly adjusted because I go to a school which is classed as underperforming.

“The method the SQA has used to moderate results is nothing but unjust and has ended up creating a further divide between those who come from deprived areas and those who are more affluent.

“SQA results this year have shamelessly been more about fitting the statistical trends than the individual pupil and to hear the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills denying this fact has undoubtedly been damaging to so many."

READ MORE: Demands for SQA to explain moderation as downgraded pupils will not be able to resit exams

Pupils across Scotland are now pinning their hopes on appealing their initial grades, a hope that Eva shares. But she added that “even with appeals” the grades she received on Tuesday will prevent her from going to the university of her choice.

In response to the letter addressed to Mr Swinney, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We are grateful to Eva for her letter and will be in touch with her shortly to respond to her concerns. We would encourage any young person disappointed by their results to speak to their school and use the free appeals process.

“This year has been exceptionally challenging, and robust processes were developed to allow certification that is fair for all learners.

“There was a rise in pass rates at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher and the SQA results show a narrowing of the gap between pupils from the most deprived to the least deprived groupings.”