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School grades, school context and university degree performance: evidence from an elite Scottish institution

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This paper investigates degree classification outcomes for students with SQA Higher qualifications at an elite Scottish university. Students are characterised according to a new indicator based on their secondary school’s academic performance relative to the national (Scottish) average. The results show that our school context indicator provides valuable information for interpreting school qualifications with respect to a student’s potential to benefit from their university studies. If school context is ignored, raw school grades alone may be an incomplete measure of academic ability and the probability of success at university.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-314
Number of pages23
JournalOxford Review of Education
Issue number3
Early online date27 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Research areas

  • Academic acheivement, Degree classification, Secondary schools, Scotland

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