The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has confirmed the process for determining 2020 results following the suspension of the normal examination diet due to COVID-19. 

I am especially pleased to see recognition that teachers and schools are best-placed to provide a judgement on pupils’ achievements.

SQA has based its approach on three broad principles:

  • Fairness to all learners;
  • Safe and secure certification of qualifications, while following the latest public health advice; and 
  • Maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualifications system, ensuring that standards are maintained over time, in the interests of learners.

The process for 2020 is as follows:

  1. Estimates: Estimated grades will be the core element of certification. Schools and colleges will provide estimates on pupils’ achievements, grades, bands and rank based on their performance so far in subject activities. This provides an overall judgement from those the SQA describes as “best placed” to do so. Schools and colleges will submit their estimates to SQA by 29 May. 
  2. Awarding: SQA will check and validate the estimates it receives. Prior assessments undertaken by pupils will be considered if they are available – for example, Higher results for an Advanced Higher pupil. The school’s previous history in estimating attainment will be considered and SQA will hold Awarding Meetings with its subject experts.
  3. Results and certification: Results will be delivered to learners by 4 August 2020. All candidates are strongly recommended to register for MySQA to receive their results by text and/or email.
  4. Appeals: The appeals process will remain free for schools and colleges so they can advocate on their pupils’ behalf if the results do not adequately reflect the candidate’s achievements.

Chief Operating Officer for Education Lesley Brown said: “Our young people, their families, and our school staff across East Lothian have been eagerly awaiting this guidance to help them with their next steps. We know that the closure of schools and the cancellation of exams has caused anxiety and uncertainty for our pupils and their families. I’m pleased that the SQA has now confirmed its approach, and I am especially pleased to see recognition that teachers and schools are best-placed to provide a judgement on pupils’ achievements.
“Our schools regularly monitor and track pupils’ progress throughout the academic year as part of our approaches to ensuring high quality learning, teaching and assessment. Teacher professional judgement is at the heart of our approach in Scotland and our teachers are very well placed to provide the information required by SQA.  

“We are working with our headteachers and school teams to make sure that our approach across East Lothian is consistent, rigorous and accurately reflects pupils’ achievements. Our teachers will estimate grades using all evidence available to them, with support from their subject faculties, wider school teams and from our central education team.”  

The SQA announcement is available online from its website. They have also outlined answers to a number of Frequently Asked Questions. 

Published: Thursday, 23rd April 2020