- Advanced Highers
The Advanced Higher (
Scottish Gaelic: An Àrd Ìre Adhartach) is an optional qualification which forms part of the Scottish secondary educationsystem. It is normally taken by students aged around 17-18 after they have completed Highers, which in turn are the main university entrance qualification. Advanced Higher is one level of National Course offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authorityas part of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.
Universities within Scotland traditionally tended to take students with only NQ Higher or A-level qualifications, but many have since begun to take students with qualifications gained elsewhere in Britain or, as with
Glasgow University, for example, an International Baccalaureate.
The Advanced Higher is Level 7 on the
Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework[ [http://www.scqf.org.uk/table.htm The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework ] ]
Advanced Highers were introduced in
2001to replace the Certificate of Sixth Year Studies(often abbreviated to "CSYS" or just "SYS"). The final CSYS exams were taken by students at the end of the 2001/02 educational year. In 2007 a noticeable decrease of 2.4% in those taking Advanced Highers has prompted concern in certain areas. [cite web | url=http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/news/display.var.1599251.0.0.php | publisher=The Herald | accessdate=2007-08-07 | title = The Hearald : News]
UCAStariff of valuing qualifications for university entry, Advanced Highers are usually considered on the same footing as A Levels, which are offered to students of the same age elsewhere in the United Kingdom.
According to the online UCAS tariff of January 2006, Advanced Highers are worth the same number of points as A-Levels [ [http://www.ucas.com/candq/tariff/tariff.html UCAS Tariff: Tariff tables ] ]
*A - 120
*B - 100
*C - 80
*D - 72
Difficulties associated with comparing A-levels with Advanced Highers
There are problems with resource availability with Advanced Highers because they are not required for entry to Scottish Universities. Schools therefore concentrate on the Higher examinations in terms of resource and teaching allocation. Whilst an Advanced Higher qualification might be viewed as equivalent to A-level in terms of UCAS points, syllabus content and examination difficulty, it is important to realise that (a) the qualification is designed to teach independence in learning, and is accordingly built largely upon independent study (b) the qualification has poorer resources, mostly with no specially written textbooks, although some have been written for Mathematics.
Some English Universities, such as
Oxford Universityand Cambridge University, have begun to take into account the aforementioned extra difficulties associated with Advanced Highers and have been giving slightly lower conditions for entry into their institutions. For example, where they would give a student studying A-levels an AAA conditional offer for a particular course, they may give a Scottish student studying Advanced Highers an offer of AAB for the same course. Oxford University's admissions forms require schools to comment on the percentage of students achieving the top grades in examinations, presumably to provide contextual background to the achievements of a particular student. The question is framed in terms of the percentage of candidates achieving AAA+ at A-level and AAB+ for Advanced Higher, possibly indicating that greater value is attributed to the Advanced Higher [ [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article557498.ece Highers pass A-levels as Oxbridge gold standard - Times Online]
The following subjects are available at Advanced Higher: [ [http://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/Catalogue_of_NQ_Qualifications_20052006.pdf SQA- CAT of NQ.s 2005-2006]
* [http://www.sqa.org.uk/ Scottish Qualifications Authority official website]
* [http://www.scqf.org.uk/ Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework official website]
* [http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/scotland/article557498.ece Article in The Times: Highers Pass A Levels as Oxbridge Gold Standard]
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