JOHN Swinney has said he is "determined" to address the fierce criticism of the way Scottish pupils' exams were graded.

The Education Secretary will set out a series of steps on Tuesday to tackle the issue which saw pupils’ grades being based on the judgments of their teachers instead of exams which were cancelled due to the pandemic.

However, all of those predicted marks had to be vetted by the SQA’s national system of “moderation”.

The body said this process – the detail of which was kept under wraps until results came out on August 4 – was put in place to maintain “standards and credibility”.

Controversially, the exams body did this in part by looking at each school’s previous history of results.

READ MORE: Fury at SQA as most-deprived pupils’ exam results downgraded

Traditionally, schools in deprived areas have fared worse at exams than their more affluent counterparts.

Overall, around 133,000 entries were adjusted from the initial estimate, around a quarter of all entries – 6.9% of those estimates were adjusted up and 93.1% were adjusted down, with 96% of all adjusted grades changed by one grade.

Swinney has said pass rates rose at every level and would have been the highest on record without the downgrading.

But hundreds of pupils took to Glasgow’s George Square on Friday morning to protest this year’s system and Scottish Labour have called for the Education Secretary to resign.

READ MORE: Scottish Labour call for John Swinney to resign over exam results

Ahead of the return of schools and Parliament, Swinney said: “I have heard the anger of students who feel their hard work has been taken away from them and I am determined to address it.

“These are unprecedented times and as we have said throughout this pandemic, we will not get everything right first time. Every student deserves a grade that reflects the work they have done, and that is what I want to achieve.

“I have been engaged in detailed discussions over the way forward and I know that we need to act and act quickly to give certainty to our young people.

“I will set out on Tuesday how we intend to achieve that.”

Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon have defended the system, stressing that the appeals process would allow eligible pupils to challenge their results if they were downgraded from teachers’ estimates.

The First Minister said the controversial process was “effectively statistical moderation” and argued results would not have been “credible” if the pass rate of the most-deprived pupils had risen by the 19.8% estimated by teachers before moderation.