The courses, the assessment, or the improved application of pupils were all mentioned as possible explanations, but beyond Richard Goring's observation that "the pupils were kept at it more", the role of teachers in the improved performance of pupils does not appear to have been considered as a factor.
To quote the Scottish Executive's current advertising campaign promoting teaching as a career, "the future of every child begins with a teacher".
The campaign rightly highlights the essential role of teachers in the social, cultural and economic success of any nation. The realisation of this, and the need to ensure, therefore, that the highest standards were maintained in the teaching profession, led to Scotland having the first General Teaching Council.
That the General Teaching Council for Scotland has since been used as a model around the world is a tribute to those who were involved in its creation and should give encouragement to colleagues elsewhere currently establishing their own councils. More recently, our central role in the review of the induction of new teachers and the continuing professional development of all teachers has helped to ensure that the highest standards of teaching remain a key objective.
In Scottish teaching we have a well-educated, well-motivated, highly professional workforce of which we should be proud, but which all too infrequently is given credit for the success it creates.
No doubt all the other possible explanations for this year's improved results have been a factor, but perhaps the search is now over. The answer lies in the commitment and quality of our teachers.
Moira Scobbie Communications Officer General Teaching Council for Scotland Clermiston Road, Edinburgh