Increasing numbers of students are taking computing qualifications in Scotland, new data shows


The number of students taking Computing Science Advanced Higher exams in Scotland (695 entries) is up by 23% on last year, according to new analysis by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.

Entries to computing science qualifications in Scotland are up in all levels (National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher) from 2020/21, with Advanced Higher seeing the most significant rise.

Entries to Computing Science National 5’s steadily increased over the last four years, with 6,440 students achieving the award this year, an increase of 2%. There has been a 3% increase in entries to Computing Science Higher (3,490 students). 

Though there are many routes to a tech career, BCS said the subject’s growing popularity was important to the pipeline of talent working in areas like digital health and climate change. Whilst there was a reduction in the proportion of students achieving the top grades (A-C) since last year, females continued to outperform males in graded National Qualifications. This is most marked in the National 5's where almost 50% of females achieved a grade A, compared with around 40% of male students. 

Young women continue to be under-represented in all awards. However, the proportion of those opting to take Computing Science courses continues to show a slight upward trend with young women accounting for 21% of National 5 entries (20% in 2021), 19% of Higher entries (17% in 2021) and 17% of Advanced Higher entries (18% in 2021). 

BCS, the professional body for information technology, analysed data released today (9 August) by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). BCS will do the same with A level data released later this month. Julia Adamson, Director of Education at BCS, said: “Congratulations to students across Scotland today who have received their examination results. It is excellent to see more people taking Computing Science qualifications and such a high proportion of young women achieving the highest grades. 

“A qualification in Computing Science helps to develop the thinking skills needed to solve the big challenges facing society, whether that’s in healthcare, climate change, or the digital divide.  We need to continue to monitor trends in attainment and keep working to ensure that all young people who want to study Computing Science can and do so with excellent teaching and resources.”

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