The percentage of pupils passing Highers and of those getting the top band continues to rise. Statistics from the Scottish Qualifications Authority show that the pass rate, before appeals, has gone up from 67.8 per cent last year to 68.5 per cent. Passes at A band rose from 15.1 per cent to 15.3 per cent.
The total number of candidates for at least one Higher went up to 62,555 from 60,875. The number with at least three A-C passes also rose, from 18,161 to 18,661, but there were fewer high-fliers. The figure of 4,984 candidates with five passes was 71 down on last year, and 153 got six passes compared to 175 in 1996. In each year three remarkable candidates came away with seven Highers.
Of the 64,218 Standard grade candidate presented, only 1,385 achieved nothing. There were 1,268 fewer candidates this year.