EXAM results have been published for Scotland's pupils despite the exam diet being cancelled for the second year running due to the coronavirus pandemic, showing a drop in pass rates from last year.

The Scottish Qualification Authority results this year are based on teacher judgment in a system called the "alternative certification model".

They show the pass rates at grades A-C for Higher was 87.3%, the Advanced Higher pass rate 90.2% and the National 5 pass rate was 85.8%.

In 2020, the Higher pass rate was 89.3%, the Advanced Higher pass rate was 93.1% and the National 5 pass rate was 89.0%.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville praised the "strong" results, which come under "extraordinary circumstances" caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

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“It’s been one of the toughest academic years we’ve ever known, with the pandemic throwing significant challenges at our young people," she said.

“So, to have this many learners receiving certificates and for the number of passes at Higher and Advanced Higher to be so high is incredible.

“These results are testament to the hard work, resilience and determination of learners – and to the dedication of their endlessly supportive teachers and lecturers, who have been with them every step of the way, going above and beyond to make sure pupils got the grades they deserve.

“Learners can be confident that their awards are fair, consistent and credible. Indeed, industry representatives have made it clear how much they value this year’s qualifications.”

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Meanwhile Fiona Robertson, SQA chief executive and the country's chief examining officer, said nearly 137,000 learners have received certificates today, the highest figure since 2017.

“The whole Scottish education system, including learners, parents and carers, has worked together to develop and deliver an alternative certification model that makes sure that learners have received the qualifications they deserve, and can move on to further or higher education, training or employment, with confidence," she said.

“Everyone worked hard to ensure the model was credible and fair so we can all have confidence in the certificates that have been awarded today.

“I want to thank everyone who has played their part, directly or indirectly, in delivering for learners this year in the most exceptional circumstances.”