Scotland’s exam body has revealed that it is about to embark on a review of two national qualifications just as the changes to the exam system that got underway in 2017 are due to be completed.
Fiona Robertson, the Scottish Qualification Association’s chief executive, told the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee today that the review would be finished by June next year, but that the changes would not be implemented until the 2022-23 school year.
She said this gap of a year between completion and implementation had been agreed in recognition of the fact that there had been major reform of the national qualifications from 2013-15 and that revisions of those reforms – the removal of the unit assessments – had then followed.
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Those changes were due to come to a conclusion this year with the Advanced Higher, she said, and the review of the National 3 and National 4 was about moving to a “more stable process of ongoing development and review”.
SQA reviews N3 and N4 exams
These qualifications, she added, had not been reviewed for five years.
Ms Robertson said: “We have made a commitment to the system that if we are doing development work we will complete that work and give the system a year to implement any changes. A specific example is the new Higher application of maths. All work on that will be completed by the end of this academic year and the new Higher will be introduced in 2021-20.”
She said the review would look at how well N3 and N4 "articulated" with each other.
A complaint from teachers being asked to deliver multi-course classes – the teaching of two or more qualifications to the same class – is that the content they have to cover can be quite different and does not align.
Ms Robertson added the review would also look at whether national standards were being maintained and whether the integrity of the qualifications was being maintained.