Tue 21 Apr, 2020

Plans announced today by the SQA for issuing qualifications in the absence of this year’s exams provide ‘more questions than answers’, according to the Scottish Greens.

The statement from the exams authority instructs teachers not only to provide estimate grades for their students but to also rank the students in their class by ability, to ‘help SQA make differentiated adjustments where appropriate to the estimates for the benefit of candidates’.

No clear rationale for how or why the SQA would use these ranking to make adjustments is provided.

The statement also announces that the SQA may adjust pupils’ grades from the estimates provided by teachers on the basis not just of that pupils’ previous personal attainment but of their whole school’s previous record in exam results.

Again, no explanation is provided as to how this would happen or how the SQA will ensure that pupils are not penalised on the basis of poor exam results from previous year groups at their school.

Commenting, Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer said:

“The SQA had a month to produce this document, yet it creates far more questions than it answers. I am seriously concerned that a grading model which judges pupils not only against others in their class but against the previous performance of their school will grossly disadvantage young people in our most deprived communities in particular. In no other year have Scottish pupils been awarded grades based on how well others in their school did in years before.

“It’s clear that a robust and fair appeals system will be needed this year but we still don’t have any details of that either. I posed dozens of questions to the SQA on behalf of pupils, teachers and parents nearly a month ago, so it’s incredibly frustrating that today’s announcement of supposedly detailed guidance answers so few of them.”

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