MSP warns of ‘anxious weekend’ for teachers and students

With exam results expected to be published on Tuesday, Scottish education minister John Swinney has been warned about teacher and students having an “anxious weekend”.

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart said there could be “unexpected, upsetting or unfair” results, after it was revealed that schools and colleges had been excluded from the moderation process because of time constraints.

In correspondence with the education committee the Scottish government acknowledged that the SQA had not, as requested by the committee, been able to engage with schools and colleges in the moderation process.

The government stated: “There are two reasons for this. Firstly, the difficulty of operating a dialogue which is fair and consistent in its treatment of all centres and candidates. Secondly, it is not possible to enter into a dialogue in the very tight timescales we are working to …”

Ms Wishart said: “This will be a very anxious weekend for young people waiting on to hear back about their exams, hoping their results will reflect their effort and talents fairly.

“Teachers have been forced to use a problematic grading system, and now we find they have been excluded from the moderating process which could see school wide adjustments or downgrading.

“Many will be imagining more bad days ahead, as they prepare to support worried students who may receive unexpected, upsetting or unfair results.

“Young people should have been to be front and centre of this process. If results day is to be followed by a wave of appeals, the Scottish government and its agencies need to be equipped to support people through that. No learner should be penalised because of a pandemic.

“Scotland’s exam system must always be built in the interests of learners and teachers, not the SQA. So far, the only people given a voice have been those around John Swinney’s table. That’s not right.”


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