Exam chiefs have played down reports of a crisis in this year's Higher English.
The SQA said the English exam was harder
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) moved to reassure pupils after it emerged that the pass mark for the Higher would be lowered.
An SQA spokesman said the level at which a pass grade could be achieved had been lowered but only because this year's exam was harder.
He rejected newspaper reports which said the SQA was facing its worst crisis since the results fiasco of 2000.
The spokesman said: "We are trying to achieve consistency but clearly it's a very complicated thing to do."
The oral test and the folio of writing have been cut from the Higher amid concerns of excessive workloads.
The spokesman conceded that some observers might assume exam chiefs were making it easier to pass the Higher.
"That's an easy conclusion to draw but it's wrong because the exams are not easier and the level of attainment is the same this year as last year," he said.
Pass rates for students taking Higher exams dropped by more than two percentage points in 2002.