Council leader John Alexander has urged Dundee pupils to appeal exam results, if they felt they lost out on grades they deserved.
Due to lockdown, around 138,000 candidates nationwide received their results on Tuesday without having physically sat an exam.
However, over 120,000 exam grades were downgraded from estimates supplied by teachers based on pupils’ performance throughout the year.
Controversially, the pass rate of pupils in the most deprived data zones was reduced by 15.2% after Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) moderated grades to maintain “national standards”.
In contrast, the pass rate for pupils from the most affluent backgrounds dropped by 6.9%, raising fears this will lead to a “poverty gap”.
Mr Alexander said: “The reality is, this year was going to be unprecedented and challenging, and we all knew that.
“In not sitting exams, whatever system the SQA ended up coming up with was going to have some holes in it, it was going to be challenged in some respects.
“So I think there are legitimate concerns there that need to be addressed, which the SQA need to provide really robust answers to. And, if they can’t, then we need to look at the detail behind that and ensure that no young person has been left behind as a result of a situation which is outwith their control.
“They were prevented from sitting their exams, not through choice, and had they sat the exams, they might have got better grades or might have had a different outcome, and I think I’m very mindful of that fact.
“As you rightly say, Dundee has a high level of poverty and deprivation, and a lot of our schools are in those areas.”
Mr Alexander said funding had been deployed in previous years to close the attainment gap between poorer parts of the city and those with lower levels of poverty.
He added: “I, along with various colleagues from across the political board, have asked for a breakdown of that information, we’ve asked for a full elected member briefing to go through it in a very, very detailed way. Because, I think we need to be reassured that the process has not left any of our young people behind.
“I’ve seen lots of the tweets, the Facebook messages – from parents and pupils – who have a lot of concern about the process, and the outcome of that process.
“I think, if I can offer any reassurance, it’s that from a council perspective, the teaching staff within our schools are absolutely focused on supporting those young people through this period, and making sure that they can appeal.
“That’s really important, that if any young person or any parent feels that young person has been left behind, and the results are not accurate, then they appeal it, and they don’t question that – they just go for it.
“I’d also add that it’s not just parents and pupils that will suggest that they appeal. Our teaching staff, if they feel that their prediction has not been accurately reflected in a pupil’s outcome, they have the ability to recommend that they appeal.”
Mr Alexander added that three-quarters of pupils got the exam results they expected, and there was actually an improvement in the outcomes for young people as a whole, but that “didn’t take away from the fact there were people who feel like the process hadn’t been fair”.