Higher exam pass rates in Scotland have fallen for the third successive year, prompting fresh concerns about declining standards in schools. The Scotsman reports
Education Secretary John Swinney insisted that the overall pass rate “remains high” and said there will be always be variations year on year.
But opponents said “clear trends” of falling standards are now emerging in recent years and have called for an urgent investigation to identify the root of the decline.
There has also been little sign of improvement in the key STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects where ministers are targeting improved performance to spearhead the technologically-based smart Scottish economy of the future.
Performance at Higher level in engineering and physics fell, although maths and chemistry were up. Pass rates in English also slumped by about 2 per cent in both Higher and National 5.
Labour education spokesman Iain Gray said: “The real concern is that these falls in attainment are now clear trends over a number of years.
“It would appear that years of cuts to school budgets and teacher numbers, along with the narrowing of the curriculum and reduced course choice are now having an impact on exam results.
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