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Highland school exams rethink welcomed as plans for National 5 and Higher and Advanced Higher courses are made clear; National 5 exam diet is cancelled because of coronavirus impact while Highers are pushed back


By Hector MacKenzie

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Nicky Grant: 'We are reassured that there will be no 'algorithm' applied this year and that young people’s grades will not be unfairly compared to previous years’ results.'
Nicky Grant: 'We are reassured that there will be no 'algorithm' applied this year and that young people’s grades will not be unfairly compared to previous years’ results.'

CHANGES to arrangements for school exams announced in light of ongoing coronavirus uncertainty have been welcomed by the Highland education authority.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced that the National 5 external examination diet has been cancelled and that Higher and Advanced Higher exams have been moved back.

National 5 course awards will now be based on teacher judgements based on assessment evidence.These changes reflect the fact that teaching time has been lost, as do the changes to courses at all levels announced by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Nicky Grant, interim executive chief officer for education and learning said: “Last term’s school closures and the pressures of this term have led to some uncertainty for our hard-working teaching staff in school.

"We are pleased to see that SQA has made adjustments to courses that provide much-needed clarity about course content and assessment. We now need to ensure that we fully support schools as we work together on using valid and reliable assessment materials to arrive at the teacher judgements that will help our young people to achieve at the highest level possible in National 5, and also in their exams at Higher and Advanced Higher level.

"We also welcome the findings of Professor Mark Priestley’s review into the 2019/20 certification process and we are pleased that the Scottish Government have accepted his recommendations. We are reassured that there will be no 'algorithm' applied this year and that young people’s grades will not be unfairly compared to previous years’ results.”

Cllr John Finlayson, chair of the education and learning committee, said: “The last few months have been a time of much uncertainty and anxiety for our young people and their families.We are glad that we now have clarity about certification arrangements for this session and that schools have all the details of revised course content.

"We look forward to getting more advice from SQA about the process of assessing progress in National 5 and will update families in due course. I would like to thank all of the young people studying for SQA qualifications in our schools for their hard work and patience as our school staff prepare for them for success in their courses this year.Wednesday’s announcements help us to focus on maximising attainment for all.”

Officers from the Highland Council’s education and learning service will now work with head teachers and other school staff to ensure that our work in senior phase courses is fully aligned with the new SQA advice and guidance.

Related: Apologies from First Minister over exam chaos

SQA aims to issue exam results by August 4

Ross parents, pupils and teachers welcome exam results u-turn

What John Swinney said in full



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