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UCAS questions complexity

THE Universities and Colleges Admissions Service, which was hit by delays in getting results from the SQA, told the hearing that it believed the complexities of the Higher Still programme were insufficiently appreciated.

"The new Scottish qualifications framework appears to be rather complicated, or at least the certification of it does," UCAS said in a paper to the education committee. "For example, it is not clear whether pupils understand that, although they do not enter specifically for qualifications in core skills, they can however be certificated with achieving certain core skills, the assessment of which comes from their being embedded in the Highers programme."

It added that the complexities of Higher Still are such that "perhaps it was introduced a ear too early".

In its evidence, UCAS said there were 13 releases of 10,279 amended items of exam data sent to it by August 31. UCAS was still receiving updated results up to September 13, although the SQA issued a news release on August 23 headed:

"SQA clears UCAS list." Figures given to the committee showed that, of a total of 18,816 students eligible for entry to higher education, 13,351 got into the institution of first choice and another 1,084 into their second choice.

A further 1,015 were placed through the UCAS clearing system and 3,366 were not placed at all. But Paul McClure, head of applications services at UCAS, told the committee that no conclusions could be drawn about whether the last group had been disadvantaged by the problems.

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