Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Pupil Grades

– in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd April 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Alexander Stewart Alexander Stewart Conservative

Due to the cancellation of exams, teachers have been tasked with issuing grades for pupils based on previous coursework, marks and prelims. Some teachers have raised concerns that grades might be set aside in order to better reflect national averages. Can the cabinet secretary confirm that that will not be the case and that no pupils will be disadvantaged as a result of efforts to secure year-on-year comparisons?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The Scottish Qualifications Authority, in setting out the approach that it intends to take in the current unprecedented circumstances, has said that fairness for learners will be at the heart of its approach. The SQA will want to ensure that that standard is met throughout the assessment process.

Teacher judgment will be at the core of the assessment process this year. The SQA has issued guidance to teachers to assist them in the identification of grades. That process will inevitably involve a great deal of dialogue in individual schools to determine what should be submitted on behalf of individual pupils.

Clearly, in any national examination system, we must have confidence that the same standards are being applied in all parts of the country: an A, B or C in the north of Scotland must be the same as an A, B or C in the south of the country. Moderation across the education system has been a hallmark throughout the exams process that we have had and it will have a role to play in the process that we take forward. The SQA has been clear about what will be involved in that moderation process and will set out further guidance on that approach in due course.

The system, however, depends on the fundamental question of the delivery of teacher judgment—school by school and classroom by classroom—around the country. The SQA has given teachers a longer period to formulate those judgments in order to enable the assessment process to come to a conclusion so that certification can be issued on 4 August—the date on which it was always designed to take place.

The Presiding Officer:

I thank our members and ministers very much for participating. We will be back tomorrow for another virtual question time at 3pm, on the twin subjects of rural affairs and the environment. I thank everyone for joining us.

Meeting closed at 14:31.