Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA)
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SQA publishes 2022 results

  • SQA publishes National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results following first exams since 2019
  • Learners achieve one of the strongest ever sets of results overall in an exam year
  • Results show significant package of support from across education system has helped to mitigate impact of global pandemic in unique year for education
  • Strong results in subjects including Higher Mathematics and English
  • Education community congratulates ‘dedicated and resilient’ learners on their achievements across a wide range of national and vocational qualifications  
  • SQA’s free, direct appeals service opens for learners

Nearly 138,000 learners across Scotland are set to receive their SQA certificates today (Tuesday 9 August 2022) following publication of the National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results this morning.

SQA has announced the results of National Qualifications in addition to a wide range of other awards and certificates, including National Progression Awards, National Certificates, Skills for Work and SQA Awards.

This is the first year that formal exams have taken place since 2019, supported by wide-ranging measures from SQA and the rest of the education system to mitigate the ongoing effects of the global pandemic.

While the significantly different circumstances and awarding processes of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 do not allow for meaningful comparison or for conclusions to be drawn on changes in education performance, this year’s learners have achieved a strong performance overall, and one of the strongest to date in an exam year.

The headline figures for 2022 are:

National 5 Higher Advanced Higher
310,170 entries 188,220 entries 28,220 entries
A-C attainment rate 80.8% A-C attainment rate 78.9% A-C attainment rate 81.3%
A attainment rate 40.3% A attainment rate 34.8% A attainment rate 33.7%

Overall, results in 2022 are between 2019, when exams last took place, and 2021, when alternative assessment was used.

Year National 5 A-C attainment Higher A-C attainment Advanced Higher A-C attainment
2019 78.2% 74.8% 79.4%
2022 80.8% 78.9% 81.3%
2021 85.8% 87.3% 90.2%

*Note: The alternative awarding arrangements in place in 2021 and the significantly different circumstances in which exams took place in 2019 mean that comparisons of attainment between years should be treated with significant caution and do not allow for any conclusions to be drawn on changes in education performance.

Courses Entries Number attained % attained

National 2




National 3




National 4




Skills for Work




Fiona Robertson, SQA’s Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer, said: “Many congratulations to the 138,000 learners receiving their certificates today. They have demonstrated what they are capable of and should be proud of their achievements.   Learners can be confident that their qualifications provide a solid foundation for the next stage in their learning, training or employment.

“This is the first time that exams have taken place since 2019, but this year does not mark a return to normal – learners have faced further disruption from COVID-19, on the back of the two previous years of disruption from the pandemic.

“That is why SQA, teachers, lecturers and partners across the education system put in place a wide-ranging package of support this year – everyone has pulled together to help mitigate the impact on learners and to give them the best chance of performing to the best of their abilities.

“Together, we have delivered fairness for learners while maintaining national standards – and learners can have confidence in their grades.

“Learners have demonstrated commitment and remarkable resilience this year, giving a strong performance despite the challenges they have faced. Indeed, this is one of the strongest sets of results in an exam year.  

“I wish everyone all the very best with their next steps, whatever they are. For those who did not receive the results they expected, our free direct appeals service is now open.”

SQA worked with partners across education – including teachers, lecturers, learners, parents and carers – to agree the approach to assessment this year. The approach was also informed and agreed by the National Qualifications 2022 Group, which has membership from across Scotland’s education system.

Among the group’s members is Jim Thewliss, General Secretary of School Leaders Scotland, who said: “Throughout a year of uncertainty, young people have shown an amazing resilience in working towards attaining grades which reflect their effort and ability.

“All partners in the education system have been fully engaged over the past 12 months in supporting them and their teachers to achieve these grades.”

To take account of the ongoing, significant disruption from the pandemic, a wide-ranging package of support was put in place for learners throughout the year, including:

  • Course modifications to reduce the volume of assessment and ease learner and teacher workload – for example, removing or reducing elements of an exam or coursework
  • An Exam Exceptional Circumstances Service to ensure learners who could not attend an exam for reasons such as bereavement or illness, including COVID-19, could have their alternative evidence considered and still receive a grade on results day
  • Online advice, revision support and learner support from across the sector – including Education Scotland, schools, colleges and local authorities
  • A more generous approach to grading exams
  • A free appeals service that enables learners to appeal directly to SQA or through their school, college or training provider

The education community, including universities, and employers have supported the balanced approach to ensuring fairness for learners, and ensuring the credibility of the grades awarded.

Among the achievements being celebrated today, in addition to National Qualifications, are awards in areas including leadership, employability and personal finance, as well as a range of Skills for Work courses, Awards, National Certificates and National Progression Awards. These are part of a broadening of the curriculum and support a range of initiatives such as the Developing the Young Workforce programme.

The results show strong engagement and attainment in a number of these qualifications at SCQF levels 3, 4, 5 and 6, particularly in areas such as Mental Health and Wellbeing, Computer Games Development, Engineering Skills, Hairdressing, Cyber Security and Digital Media.

Fiona Robertson added: “We are celebrating learners with a fantastic breadth of achievement today, as well as those who receive their certificates throughout the year, including Higher National and Scottish Vocational Qualifications learners and those undertaking Foundation Apprenticeships.

“The wide range of qualifications is supporting young people in reaching their full potential as they progress from their broad general education to college, university, apprenticeships, other learning, training and employment.”

Qualifications at SCQF levels 1-6 Number attained
Awards 29,455
National Certificates 3,890
National Progression Awards 19,640

2022 in numbers: National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

  • Around 128,000 learners from 500 schools, colleges and training providers took these courses
  • Over two million exam papers
  • Nearly 6,000 markers and 137 Principal Assessors (experienced teachers and lecturers)
  • More than 120 Grade Boundary meetings

Support for learners

  • SQA’s Appeals 2022 service is free of charge and opens at 9am on Results Day. More information has been sent to learners’ homes and is available at
  • If learners have a query about their certificate, they can call SQA’s Candidate Advice Line on 0345 279 1000
  • Skills Development Scotland’s Results Helpline: 0808 100 8000
  • UCAS: 0371 468 0468 / Clearing resources can be found at
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