Scottish Qualifications Authority (Discussions)

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at on 7 December 2023.

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Photo of Jenny Gilruth Jenny Gilruth Scottish National Party

It is worth reiterating that the SQA does not have any role in the delivery of prelim exams. It is also worth saying that, since the introduction of the national qualifications back in 2013-14, prelims and any alternative evidence have not formed part of the appeals process, apart from during the temporary pandemic arrangements. I am of the view that the appropriate evidence to inform the appeals process is a matter for the new qualifications body and that it should keep that under review.

Of course, the SQA looks at alternative evidence for exceptional circumstances such as pupils who might have been unable to sit their exam or whose performance was impacted due to illness. The SQA gives extensive guidance to centres on what constitutes valid evidence in those circumstances, and that includes prelim evidence. The SQA also gives a range of support to centres on understanding standards, to support teachers in setting assessments and understanding the level for the learner against the national standard.

Fundamentally, a wider programme of education reform is currently under way, and I believe that that will require to consider approaches to assessment in much more detail as part of any changes to the qualifications that might come forward. In the meantime, I encourage Stuart McMillan’s constituent to discuss the matter directly with their school or local authority.