South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has commented on exam results which were released today.
Formal exams were cancelled for the second year running due to Covid-19, with grades based on teacher judgement.
The percentage of pupils achieving A to C grades in their Highers in Scotland fell from 89.3% in 2020 to 87.3% in 2021.
But that total is still significantly above the 75% pass rate from 2019, and a record high number of awards overall.
Colin Smyth said: “This has been a hugely challenging time for both pupils and teachers and I would like to congratulate everyone who received their exam results as well as all teachers who have worked so hard in very difficult circumstances.
“I hope those receiving their results feel like their hard work has paid off, but I know some will be disappointed.
“In these cases, it is important to remember that everyone’s journey is different and there is support out there for anyone who needs it.
“Sadly, it is already clear that the system used for this year’s exams has widened the attainment gap, meaning that the poorest students have been impacted worst. The extensive use of online learning inevitably benefits those from wealthier households and this is reflected in the results.
“No one should miss out because of their background and that’s why the Government should guarantee a re-sit opportunity for every young person whose education has been disrupted.
“Our education system has really suffered from a lack of leadership this year from the late cancellation of exams, to the shambolic roll out of the Alternative Certification Model, to the chaotic appeals system and every opportunity needs to be given to ensure that students’ results properly reflect their ability not their household circumstances.”