Tue 30 Jun, 2020

Applying a system that penalises pupils who go to schools in deprived communities is bad enough, but to do so in secret is utterly unacceptable. Ross Greer

The Scottish Qualifications Agency has admitted it will adjust student’s grades without consulting schools or publishing its methods, potentially failing pupils whose had been submitted a pass grade by their teacher.

In a letter to the Scottish parliament’s Education committee, SQA chief Fiona Roberston confirmed that the agency will moderate grades without any consultation with teachers, using a system which could see pupils marked up or down because of the past performances of their school, no matter how hard they have worked.

This could see pupils’ whose teacher has submitted a pass grade receive a fail instead, without the teacher or school having been informed or consulted.

Responding, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP said:

“The SQA are undermining not only the professional judgement of teachers but the hard work of pupils with this secret moderation process. They are treating young people as statistics, not as individual learners.

“Applying a system that penalises pupils who go to schools in deprived communities is bad enough, but to do so in secret is utterly unacceptable. Teachers will now be faced with having to understand for themselves why the grade they submitted has been altered, as well as the methodology of the system used to alter it, all just days before schools return for the new term and with a huge volume of additional work expected of them if they and their pupil wish to appeal the SQA’s decision.

“Parliament’s Education Committee have now repeatedly told the SQA to publish the details of this grading system, to show us the Equality Impact Assessment they are legally required to conduct and to engage with schools and teachers before altering the grades they have submitted. They have made clear their intentions to do none of this. Confidence in the SQA relies on fairness and transparency, but many teachers, pupils and parents feel they are not being treated with respect.”

In her letter, SQA Chief Executive Fiona Robertson’s told MSPs:

"We have considered the matter very carefully, including further discussions with our Board of Management and we have concluded that it will not be possible to include engagement with schools and colleges within the moderation process."

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