The SQA appeals system will force young people to take a perverse gamble, according to Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP. His remarks come after it was confirmed by Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville that the appeals process could see marks downgraded as well as upgraded, despite calls from children’s rights experts for a ‘no-detriment’ approach to be taken.
Speaking in parliament this afternoon, Mr Greer highlighted the risk of the newly announced appeals process increasing the chance of downgrading.
Ross Greer said:
“I said last week that the SQA had lost the confidence of Parliament. Nothing we heard today changes that.
“The lack of a no-detriment approach to appeals means young people will be taking a perverse gamble.
“Schools will submit the strongest evidence they have in support of the initial grade – why would they have stronger evidence, suitable for an appeal but which they chose not to submit in the first place?
“It seems the risk of downgrading is increased by an appeals process reliant purely on limited and likely weaker evidence, rather than on the professional judgement of teachers.
"It appears personal circumstances such as immediate family bereavement due to covid won’t even be taken into account.
“The Education Secretary failed to confirm that the National Qualifications Group signed off on this appeals process. There is no clarity as to whether young people will have the opportunity to ask questions directly of the SQA and there was no answer when I asked about the lack of consideration for exceptional individual circumstances. These points need addressed urgently.”