Education directors join calls for exam reform

They say a review of Scottish national qualifications is needed ‘to better recognise and make visible’ student achievement

Emma Seith

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Education directors are calling for “a comprehensive review of assessment across all sectors of education” in Scotland, including the current system of national qualifications in  schools.

The call comes in a new document published by the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES). It says the review of the way students are assessed is needed “to learn from the lessons of 2020 and 2021 and to better recognise and make visible children and young people’s achievements”.

The paper – called Towards a Vision for Scottish Education in 2025 – has been put together to stimulate discussion and debate about the kind of education system Scotland wants to have in the future. It warns against returning to “business as usual” following the pandemic, saying that would not be “the optimal course of action”.


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The paper acknowledges that the past year has been an “extraordinarily difficult period”.

However, it also says there have been “some positives from all of this”, including the rapid improvement in staff and pupils’ “digital competence” due to remote learning; the increased level of collaboration between councils and between schools; and the increased use of technology ”to remove geographical barriers and to provide children and young people with greater choices and wider access to creative, flexible and enhanced curriculum learning opportunities”.

Curriculum 'should be flexible'

The paper states: “The challenges and experiences gained through the development and rollout of digital, home and remote learning options must be captured and used to influence future strategic responses.”

As well as calling for the qualifications review, ADES also wants to see the resources being invested in the attainment challenge maximised; the curriculum regularly reviewed “to ensure that it continues to be sufficiently flexible to meet the individual and collective needs of all learners”; children’s services and education staff working “even more closely” to support disadvantaged children; and career-long professional learning prioritised “with greater coherence between those supporting and delivering professional learning at initial teacher education and those working at local authority level”.

Launching the vision paper, ADES president Carrie Lindsay said it was “a starter – something to start that dialogue, that debate, that discussion across our members about what we want for our children and young people”.

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for TES Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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