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Revealed: SNP lowered the bar for maths exams

7 Aug 2019

The SNP government lowered the pass threshold for maths exams across the board, it has been revealed, and performance still dipped.

Figures released yesterday showed a 2.1 per cent drop in maths passes at Higher level.

And now it has emerged that the reduction in passes occurred even though the boundaries had been reduced at Higher, Advanced Higher and National 5 level.

In 2019, pupils needed to secure 67 per cent for an A at Higher, and 44 per cent for a C. To gain a D award, students needed to reach just 32 per cent.

That compares to last year’s thresholds of 73 per cent for an A, 48 per cent for a C, and 42 per cent for a D.

Maths was the only subject where the pass boundaries reduced at all three levels from Higher to National 5 and Advanced Higher.

It also saw the biggest drop of any subject in pass rates at both National 5 and Advanced Higher, and one of the biggest drops at Higher.

Shadow education secretary Liz Smith said the changes made yesterday’s results even more disappointing, and was more evidence of the SNP’s neglect of an education brief it’s been in sole charge of for more than 12 years.

Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said:

“These are damning statistics which show the extent of the current issues facing the Curriculum for Excellence.

“While grade boundaries are a vital tool within examination marking, there is a very worrying trend developing in the core subject of maths which indicates that grade boundaries have not only being lowered over recent years but that this is happening across the different levels of maths exams.

“It seems that pupils can routinely collect a pass in maths for less than 50 per cent and also acquire a D award at Higher for as low as 32 per cent.

“That trend is surely a very major concern and, once again, it raises issues about the lack of rigour within the new curriculum.

“That cannot be allowed to continue since it further undermines the previous strengths of Scottish education.”