Coronavirus: 'Urgent' need for answers on assessment

Dozens of questions sent to SQA and government as teachers and students say they still lack clarity over response to cancelled exams

Henry Hepburn

Coronavirus: 'Urgent' need for answers on cancelled exams | Tes News

A week after Scotland's exams were cancelled, many questions remain.

Today, the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee has written to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the Scottish government, on behalf of students, parents and teachers.

They have gathered dozens of questions from people who are concerned that they still lack clarity about the alternative course of action now that exams have been cancelled, even after the SQA provided more details this week.


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Here is a selection of the questions and comments gathered by the committee: 

"How should young people with no internet access be required to complete coursework? Surely this is completely unfair."

"Some kids did not do great in their prelims but took on the feedback from these exams and were working harder to improve so that their exams in April/May were a lot better. Will these children be disadvantaged if the prelims are to be used to base their final grades on?"

"As a teacher, it is appalling that we don’t yet know how our pupils will be assessed. Every day that this continues widens the disparity between the assistance that pupils are given by their school."

"We have no idea whether or not we are meant to be writing 3000+ word dissertations or if it's going to be scrapped as soon as we finish it."

"I am severely concerned about what I am going to be able to do with my future if I am not given the chance to show my full potential in my subjects I am sitting, in my final year of school."

"If the grade they receive is not what they think is acceptable, is there an appeals process or can they sit the exam in August as a resit?"

"Does the SQA trust teachers as professionals and trust their judgement?"

"I am completely confused as what is going to be going on with people like myself and others who haven’t got the best marks in their prelims and is not showing their best potential...Something needs to be done about this urgently."

"How will you guarantee the fairness of the results when inevitably not everyone will be able to do their coursework?"

"There still seems to be an assumption that folios can be completed without pupils being in schools. It's impossible."

"Do you agree that in these extraordinary times, with incompleted courses and coursework, that no coursework should be marked and that we should stop pupil stress by trusting teachers judgements and award the grades and unit awards that teachers say pupils should get?"

"Firstly, I am an admissions tutor at a university. We will be sympathetic to applicants. It might be useful to reassure pupils that universities will understand their circumstances."

"What are the SQA doing about Art & Design folios? Pupils cannot complete these at home, as they don't have the correct materials and equipment, but the SQA have not given us any information about what to do about this."

"Will the prelim results be included? Prelims were rendered unimportant when the appeals process was scrapped so this is not a good guide anymore."

"How are we checking the national standards, as I worry some schools/teachers may inflate grades to work in the pupils' favour?"

"Will there be a diet of exams set for the late summer allowing youngsters to sit exams in subjects where the grades they have been given have fallen well below their own expectations?"

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Henry Hepburn

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