The Secretary of State is shortly expected to authorise the Scottish Qualifications Authority to carry out national consultations on whether there should be a second sitting for Higher Still exams. This would add a December diet to that in May, pleasing the further education colleges which have been pressing for their existing flexibility in the timing of assessment to be maintained.
Neil MacGowan insists a second diet must be seen as just that, not a resit or any indication that the appeals procedure is being abandoned. "I can also envisage this being very attractive to headteachers who might want to use the second exam diet as the first sitting for some pupils," Mr MacGowan suggests. "They could then have a year and a half run at the course from June through to the following December."
Mr MacGowan emphasises that students will be able to take an exam in any of the Higher Still subjects without having to complete all the units.
But such studies would only be shown as a partial completion on the new Scottish Qualifications Record, which will be a cumulative record of lifelong achievements. While the candidate would not technically have failed, they would not have completed the course and this would not therefore appear on the Scottish Qualifications Certificate which will replace the current SCE version.