Students in Scotland will now receive their original grades estimated by teachers, as more than 120,000 results downgraded in moderation are to be scrapped.
After children found out their grades last week, it emerged tens of thousands had been lowered by the exam board.
The Scottish education secretary said on Tuesday these results would go back to the original teacher estimate.
Scotland cancelled exams this year for the first time in history over the coronavirus pandemic.
A new grading system was put in place, which saw teachers’ estimates of pupils’ attainment moderated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority
This was based on criteria including the past performance of schools.
It resulted in 124,564 exam results being downgraded – about a quarter of all grades handed out by the SQA this year.
The pass rate for higher pupils from the most deprived areas of Scotland was reduced by 15.2 per cent, compared with 6.9 per cent in the most affluent parts of the country.
John Swinney, the Scottish education secretary, announced on Tuesday tens of thousands of grades will go up.
“I can confirm to parliament today that all downgraded awards will be withdrawn,” he said on Tuesday.
He said he would tell the SQA to “reissue those awards based solely on teacher or lecturer judgment”.
Backlash followed last week’s results day, after it was revealed more than 120,000 grades went down in moderation.
Scotland’s education secretary faced criticism from pupils, parents and teachers, with opposition politicians calling for him to resign.
Students protested in Edinburgh and Glasgow after the grades were handed out.
Images show one pupil outside parliament holding a sign saying: “Trust our teachers.”
Others held up messages about class and claimed there was a “postcode lottery”.
Following the news that lowered grades would be going up, Erin Bleakley, who organised a protest of around 100 students in Glasgow, said: “I think we would all like to say a generous thank you for not only the apology but the results being reverted back to teacher estimates.”
The 17-year-old added: “I did not think this day would come.”
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, apologised to pupils the day before the U-turn over moderated grades was announced.
The news comes days before students in England are expecting to get their GCSE and A level results.
Jo Grady, general secretary of University and College Union (UCU), said: “The rest of the UK must now ensure that no student misses out because of a flawed system of awarding marks.”