Orkney’s Director of Education Welcomes Decision on SQA Results Turnaround

James WylieJames Wylie, OIC Executive Director of Education, Leisure and Housing has welcomed the announcement on SQA exam results by the Scottish Government Education Minister , John Swinney.

James Wylie said:

“The significant and detailed work carried out by teaching staff and school managers was to an incredibly high standard and I had every confidence in the approach and final outcome presented to the SQA. I am delighted that this effort across the country has now been recognised by John Swinney during his Parliamentary address today.”

In Orkney 436 awards had been downgraded by the SQA who ‘moderated’ teacher assessments using computer modelled grades based on a school’s past results.

The total number of exam entries at Kirkwall Grammar School was 1,237 across National 5s, Highers and Advance Highers. Out of those, 290 were downgraded by the SQA.

At Stromness Academy there was a total of 529 entries and a reduction of 146 across Nat5s, Highers and Advanced Highers.

In total, around 60 estimates were raised by the SQA at both schools.

With the small numbers at Junior High Schools there were very few changes made by the SQA up or down on teacher estimates.

John Swinney apologised for the SQA result process which had affected 75,000 young people in Scotland with downgraded marks.

Schools will be informed of the new grades by 21st of August and new certificates will be sent out. The Scottish Government has also said that it will ensure that there are enough places at universities and colleges in Scotland so that all the places can be taken up by students.

There will also be an independent review led by Professor Mark Priestley of Stirling University into the events following the cancellation of the examination diet. It will make recommendations for the coming year and has 5 weeks to complete its report.

Scotland’s current methods of student assessment through exams is also to be reviewed with a view to transforming how qualifications are awarded.

John SwinneyJohn  Swinney said:

“These are exceptional times, and in exceptional times truly difficult decisions are made. In speaking directly to the young people affected by the downgrading of awards – the seventy-five thousand pupils whose teacher estimates were higher than their final award – I want to say this: I am sorry.

“I would like to thank all of Scotland’s children, young people and adult learners for the incredible resilience they have shown throughout the COVID-19 epidemic. We are immensely proud of all that they have achieved. I hope that our pupils now move forward confidently to their next step in education, employment or training with the qualifications that teachers or lecturers have judged were deserved.

“We will look to learn lessons from the process to awarding qualifications this year that will help to inform any future actions.”


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