A TOP level investigation has been started after an entire Inverness College class failed Higher Media for the second consecutive year.
The probe into the embarrassing situation at Inverness College UHI is being overseen by acting principal Roddy Henry.
This year not one of 13 students achieved a higher pass, and the previous year it was all 20 students who failed.
The college is mystified by this year’s result since there had been an investigation and rigorous monitoring after the 2016 result.
Higher Media is now dropped at Inverness College, but it was stressed the decision was made earlier this year as part of an ongoing review, not in response to these results.
A college spokeswoman said: "These results are deeply disappointing and we are already taking action to investigate, including having further discussions with Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), and to support candidates.
"This outcome is even more disappointing given the action plan that was put in place following the review of last year’s results, which found that a contributory factor had been a lack of clarity regarding the SQA course requirements and the college’s understanding of these.
"We share the students’ distress and disappointment and have already been in contact with some candidates and their parents.
"Any student affected should contact the college’s guidance team in the first instance for further information or advice."
Roddy Henry, acting principal, said "These results are a real shock and I am deeply disappointed that we are in this situation.
"The results are not in line with ongoing feedback and monitoring of the course, which was stringent this year given last year’s results.
"They are by no means representative of the overall quality of provision at Inverness College UHI, where student success rates have improved year-on-year for the past four years. Overall, Higher results this year have been very good and in several cases well above the norm for Highers studied at colleges in Scotland."
He highlighted other pass rates - maths (71 per cent), English (80 per cent), care (100 per cent), physics (83 per cent) and biology (80 per cent) – that have been outstanding.
Mr Henry added: "Taking all that into account, along with strong endorsement of the quality of our provision from Education Scotland, the recurring issues on this course are highly unusual and of significant concern."
An SQA spokesman said: "Following the college’s 2016 Higher Media results, extensive further support, including a visit from our principal assessor, was required to help the college in their understanding of standards.
"Our programme of support ensures teachers and lecturers fully understand the national assessment standards and how they should be applied.
"Across Scotland, the A-C attainment rate for Higher Media was 59.8 per cent and the assessment performed as intended. It provided candidates with the opportunity to show their understanding of the subject, with many candidates performing strongly. The external assessment was in-line with past and exemplar papers and our course and assessment specifications."