A study over 20 years has found that children in Scotland are more likely to pass exams and do well after leaving school than anywhere else in Britain
The claim was made in new research by Professor David Raffe and Dr Linda Croxford from the Economic and Social Research Council.
It looked at the education systems in Scotland, England and Wales.
The team of researchers also looked at the social, economic and policy changes undertaken during the study period.
Broadly, the study indicated that over the last 20 years more pupils have been passing exams and more have been going on to university.
Professor Raffe and Dr Croxford have also discovered that youngsters north of the border have been doing better than their counterparts in England.
Although working class youngsters are more likely to do well in Scotland, classmates from middle class backgrounds do even better.
The researchers said it is difficult to identify why overall Scottish youngsters are more successful, but they believe one key factor is the country's education system.
The study states in its conclusion: "Over the 1980s and 1990s there was enormous expansion of participation and attainment in education throughout Britain.
"This expansion took place within a context of social, economic and policy change.
"It is not possible to isolate causal factors in the expansion, since the societal context, administrative systems and social relations were all changing and interacting.
"However, we might note that the introduction of more inclusive examination systems - GCSE and Standard Grade - at the start of the period removed a major barrier to educational expansion."
The researchers said that on average parental social class was higher in southern England and average attainment higher in the south of England than in northern England or Wales.
"However, more young people achieved post-compulsory qualifications and entered higher education in Scotland than elsewhere," they said.
"The different education system in Scotland was the key factor.
"The socio-economic context of Scotland was similar to that in the north of England and Wales, but attainment of post-compulsory qualifications and entry to higher education were substantially higher in Scotland than in the south of England."
Scots more likely than English to reach university, though background still counts