Safety net is lowered

10th October 2003 at 01:00
The Education Minister has finally approved plans by the Scottish Qualifications Authority to scrap the compensatory A grades awarded at the various Higher Still levels, as predicted in The TES Scotland (August 15).

The system was blamed for inappropriate presentation of candidates who, for example, might be entered for Higher knowing that a narrow fail would earn a top A grade at Intermediate 2.

The system to be introduced next year will have a level D for such students at Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher levels. A narrow fail is defined as up to 5 per cent below the pass mark.

The previous approach was widely seen as contributing to the high failure rate in Higher English - one in four candidates scored 30 per cent or less in this year's exam. By eliminating the bottom 25 per cent who would have been better off sitting Intermediate 2, the pass rate would have risen to 78 per cent instead of 59.2 per cent.

The SQA admitted the compensatory award had caused "some confusion".

Universities in particular were misled last year when some students gained entry on the basis of a compensatory A in their Highers when, in fact, they had failed their Advanced Higher.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today