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Cautious optimism over the new results service

The recent results service report from the Scottish Qualifications Authority makes interesting reading and indicates that the new service is working quite well ("Re-marking `gamble' is a postcode lottery", 5 December 2014).

The intention of the new service was to fundamentally shift the whole business of appeals, from what had become an almost automatic tendency to submit an application to one that requires more careful consideration on the grounds of illness or other significant event for a young person, or a mark that is genuinely unexpected and unrepresentative of the student's track record.

It needs to be remembered that the new qualifications rely less on exam marks and more on course assessment, which will also affect the new scheme and mean that a "bad exam day" will have less impact on final scores.

We have had remarkably little feedback from parents about the new results service but we sense that many are not yet fully aware of it. We also know of a significant variation in the level of review requests from different local authority areas. It will certainly take a few years to bed in, but we hope that schools and local authorities will look carefully at the numbers from SQA to make sure that young people suffer no disadvantage.

Eileen Prior
Executive director, Scottish Parent Teacher Council

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