No panic yet in the staffroom

30th March 2001 at 01:00
Better communications with the SQA and swifter correction of errors are the main improvements highlighted by the cross-section of schools which have taken part in The TES Scotland's "SQA watch" series.

Charlie Evitt, head of English at Portobello High in Edinburgh, says the authority is "getting its act together quicker" this year. But he is worried there may not be enough markers given the greater numbers taking Intermediate I and II.

Brian Paterson, principal teacher of modern studies at Boclair Academy in East Dunbartonshire, also believes the SQA has improved, particularly in the handling of assessment. Both he and Ian Spence, head of Anderson High in Shetland, are critical of assessment overload but accept this is outwith the SQA's control.

Norman Dawson, assistant head at Alloa Academy, praises the SQA'snew management, communications and timetabling. Familiar problems emerged, however: pupils entered for individual units at Advanced Higher but not the exam. The difference this time is that the SQA sorted things out very quickly, he says, because of its new system of account managers who have responsibility for groups of schools.

Ian Spence at Anderson High also believes link officers have benefited the system. The school has reciprocated by having one member of staff talking directly to the SQA officer. But complexities with the computer systems remain.

Mike Taylor, head of Dyce Academy in Aberdeen, pinpoints errors in the registration documentation and entry errors uncorrected from last session. The late arrival of material from the SQA is also one of the "worrying wrinkles".

ScotlandPlus, page 6

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