An "elevator factor" appears to be present in the analysis of the summer exams by local authorities. Results can go up as well as down - and sometimes they do not move at all.
In Aberdeen, there is a higher percentage of passes at Credit level in Standard grade than the previous year and the percentage of S4 pupils achieving five or more awards at level 5 or better in 2004 was 35 per cent, compared with 34 per cent in 2003.
Over the past five years, the percentage of pupils in the city gaining five or more awards at level 5 or better has improved from 31 per cent to 35 per cent, mostly because of more Intermediate 1 and 2 entries. But a marginally lower percentage of pupils achieved levels 1-4 at Intermediate level than in 2003.
At Higher, the percentage of pupils achieving five or more awards at level 6 or better has remained constant at 9 per cent for the past four years.
Down the coast in Angus, there was a drop in the percentage of pupils with five or more passes at Standard grade 1-2, which is described as a "little disappointing". But performance at Higher has improved. The percentage with three or more passes rose from 23 per cent in 2003 to 25.7 per cent in 2004.
Across in Argyll and Bute, results at Foundation, Access, General and Intermediate 1 were maintained but there was "a disappointing reduction" in the number of level 5 awards (Credit and Intermediate 2), down from 39 per cent to 33 per cent. However, three of the authority's 10 secondaries saw level 5 awards rise by between 2 per cent and 37 per cent.
Level 6 (Higher) awards remain strong, with 11 per cent of S4s gaining five or more awards and 26 per cent gained three or more.
East Ayrshire reports its highest level of five or more passes at Credit and General levels for at least five years. Similarly at Higher, the percentage of pupils gaining at least three passes is at its highest level.
The percentage gaining A-C awards has increased at Higher for French, biology, chemistry and physics.
The authority comments favourably on the impact of the Partners in Excellence programme on foreign language attainment (TESS, last week). Most pupils continue to follow the Standard gradeHigher route although there is more flexibility this year.
In East Dunbartonshire, Standard grade performance is broadly in line with previous years and it is a similar story at Higher. But S6 performance is better.
Equally high-flying East Renfrewshire reports that the percentage of pupils gaining five or more Highers at A-C in S5 continues to run at more than 30 per cent. The percentage with three or more Highers is 58 per cent, up from 55 per cent in 2003.
East Lothian reports "encouraging progress in performance in all of the main examination indicators over the last three years", while Falkirk records a mixed picture. Attainment in S4 is slightly down but "is as good or better in the case of five-plus awards at level 5". There was a modest improvement at Higher with the figure for three-plus Highers rising by 3 per cent.
Highland reports steady improvement with 39 per cent of pupils gaining five or more passes at Credit level. At Higher, schools have achieved "the best ever results for pupils gaining five Highers and those gaining Advanced Higher".
In North Ayrshire, data is still being analysed but seven out of 10 schools presented S3 pupils at levels ranging from Access 2 to Standard grade Credit. Some 116 pupils were involved. In Higher English, the pass rate rose from 57 per cent in 2003 to 65 per cent.
Renfrewshire reports "encouraging" improvement in performance at all levels with more young people achieving Highers than last year. South Lanarkshire says performance is "broadly similar" to the past two years, while West Dunbartonshire reports steady improvement.
In the Western Isles, "in almost all of the whole-school measures, performance has been above or well above national average".
LITTLE AND LARGE
* In Clackmannanshire, the number of pupils gaining five or more Credit passes has shown some improvement but results at Higher have been "disappointing" with a 1 per cent fall in scores. The authority is currently addressing attainment in its three secondaries.
* In Glasgow, some Standard grade and Intermediate performances have improved and the city notes "seven instances of schools improving a performance in an indicator by more than 7 per cent". But the number of five-plus Highers in S5 is down by just over 1 per cent and for three-plus Highers in S5 is down by 1.75 per cent.