SQA reveals details for 2021 national qualifications

Long-awaited SQA update is published – but it will be 19 November before every subject teacher has details they need

Henry Hepburn

Coronavirus: SQA reveals details for 2020-21 national qualifications

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has published an update on arrangements for national qualifications in 2020-21.

The update includes guidance on gathering evidence for estimates in National 5 maths and English. Details for a handful of other National 5 subjects will appear by the end of this week, with guidance for all remaining subjects "published on a rolling basis until Thursday 19 November".

The SQA says in a statement on its website: "We need assistance and support from you and your colleagues in delivering the alternative certification approach for National 5 courses. This includes the quality assurance of learners’ work, to ensure standards are maintained. We also need your assistance and support with the delivery of the Higher and Advanced Higher exam diet, and planning of contingencies should these exams not take place due to public health advice."

It was announced on 7 October that there would be no external exams for National 5 courses in 2020-21, although some form of Higher and Advanced Higher exams are, as things stand, still due to take place.

SQA: Details on national qualifications

The new SQA statement reiterates that "National 5 courses will be assessed using an alternative certification approach, based on teacher and lecturer judgement supported by assessment resources and quality assurance".

As well as the maths and English guidance published today, details for National 5 art and design, Gàidhlig, graphic communication and practical metalworking are due by the end of the week.

The SQA states on its website: "Guidance for the remaining subjects will be published on a rolling basis until Thursday 19 November."

On the exams that are being planned for in 2021, the SQA says: "The exam timetable for Higher and Advanced Higher is currently being finalised and will be published later this week."

The statement from the SQA, attributed to chief executive Fiona Robertson, who also has the role of Scotland’s chief examining officer, also says: "In addition, we are developing a package of SQA-devised, subject-specific question papers and/or assignments, to support teachers and lecturers in assessing their learners in the relevant key components of each subject and assisting them in making sound and robust professional assessment judgements.

"We will also provide some additional support, such as understanding standards materials or online events. These resources will start to become available during November on each subject page. I would encourage teachers and lecturers to sign up for MyAlerts to be kept updated."

Ms Robertson adds: "While being fully aware of the pressures that schools and colleges are currently operating under, we seek your help and support in the release of your colleagues to take up their roles as SQA appointees. Every year we rely heavily on the work carried out by our appointees to deliver for Scotland’s learners. This year, to minimise public health risks and the amount of time that teachers and lecturers are away from their classes, we are carrying out all exam and quality-assurance procedures virtually, including in the evenings and at weekends."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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