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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 August 2005, 07:24 GMT 08:24 UK
Age gap as pupils sit exams early
Keith Grammar
Keith Grammar took part in the exams experiment
Pupils who sat their Standard Grade exams a year earlier than normal at a Moray school have been outclassed by their elder counterparts.

The third year at Keith Grammar was put forward for the exams in a Scottish Executive-sponsored experiment.

And while 67% of the younger pupils passed five Standard Grades at general level or above, that figure rose to 83% among fourth years.

However, the third year pupils did secure more passes at credit level.

Moray Council said it was not disappointed by the results and predicted that the gap between the two years would close as the scheme bedded down.

Two terms

It felt that the initiative would achieve the main aim of doubling the time that candidates had to prepare for Highers.

Critics have long claimed that Scottish secondary education was unbalanced.

Schools inspectors said that not enough was asked of pupils in their first two years, while candidates had just over two terms in fifth year to make the jump from Standard Grades to Highers.

Pupils sitting exams
Pupils usually sit Standard Grades in fourth year

Keith Grammar tried to tackle the problem by putting its entire third year forward for Standard Grades a year early.

A full-scale analysis of the initiative will be carried out by the council and the executive.

The Scottish Parent Teacher Council said this year's results were good for a new scheme.

The organisation said that it backed the idea of giving pupils more time to prepare for Highers.

The executive said the experiment was one of several that it was sponsoring as part of research into introducing more flexibility into the curriculum.

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