How are National 5 exams in Scotland graded?

by | Jul 14, 2022

If you or your child have recently sat the National 5 exams in Scotland, then you might be wondering how are National 5 exams graded? The Scottish Curriculum for Excellence grading system issues grades A to D, with anything below a D being a fail.

  • A = 70-100% (good to very good);
  • B = 60-69% (more than sufficient);
  • C = 50-59% (sufficient);
  • D = 40-49% (insufficient).

The Nationals was introduced in Scotland between 2013 and 2016, they replaced Access, Standard Grade, Intermediate, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications.

How does the Scottish National 5 compare to English Qualifications?

Scotland has their own educational and exam system and thus, different grading. They are different to the rest of the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland). State schools in Scotland follow the Scottish System (National 5’s) while some private/independent schools, follow the Scottish system and some follow the same system as the rest of the UK, and some do both.

The National 5 exams in Scottland are basically equivalent to the UK’s GCSEs. The Scottish National 5 exams graded A to C are equivalent to GCSE’s 4 to 9 with 9 being the highest.

This image shows the grading scale for the National 5 exams

National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Courses have units marked with the school. In order to pass a course at National 5 or higher, students need to pass all Units and a Course assessment. These assessments are marked externally by SQA, the examination board.

There are a few different types of assessments that are normally carried out using one or two of the following seven methods, depending on the subject:

  • Case Study
  • Practical activity
  • Project
  • Question paper or test
  • Assignment
  • Performance
  • Portfolio

How are GCSEs graded?

As of 2017, the UK’s grading system changed from alphabetically grading, to numbers. The new grading system uses numbers 9 – 1 with 9 being the highest/best grade and 9 being the lowest, not including U which is ungraded. The numbers 9, 8 and 7 correspond to the grades A* and A, with 7 being on the lower end of A.

What is the National 5 pass rate?

In 2021 the pass rate for National 5’s was (a grade between A and C) 85.8 per cent, compared with 89 per cent in 2020, and 78.2 per cent in 2019 (Statistica). But it’s worth noting that the conditions for these exams were very different due to the coronavirus.

Would it be beneficial to get a tutor for the National 5 exams?

The National 5 exams are tough and a huge step up from previous challenges in school, so it’s important to get ahead of the game. Having a private maths tutor will give you or your child dedicated time and attention. Many students we have spoken to say that they feel the teachers at their school don’t teach in a way that suits everyone’s needs. As a result, many students don’t learn as well as they should. With a dedicated private maths tutor for National 5, you can get tailor-made teaching methods that suit the individual rather than everyone.

If you are interested in tutoring for the National 5 exams please get in touch today.

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