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Coronavirus and additional support for learning

Exams and qualification results

The coronavirus pandemic has meant that SQA assessments did not take place this year, and grades were worked out in a different way. If your child was due to have SQA exams or coursework assessments last term, they will have received their results on 4 August.

Your child’s exam results were based on teacher estimated grades which were submitted to the SQA back in May. The teacher estimated grades were then moderated by the SQA, and some pupils’ awards were either upgraded or downgraded.

On 11 August, the Scottish Government decided that it was not fair for pupils to have their teacher’s estimates downgraded by the SQA moderators. This means, exam results will now be changed back to what their teachers initially estimated.

For pupils who had their awards upgraded by the SQA, they will still keep their upgraded results.

The SQA will be sending out updated certificates to any pupils who have been affected by these changes to reflect their accurate awards.

If your child is not sure if their results were affected by this you, or your child, can get in touch with the school to find out.

Below, we have tried to answer some of the key questions you may have if your child has additional support needs.

There is no easy solution to know exactly what your child’s exam and coursework results would have been if they were not cancelled this year. For example, you might be particularly worried if your child was off sick for a big part of the school year and if this has impacted on their grades this year.

Your child’s teachers will have used their best professional judgements when estimating what they expected your child to get if they had been able to sit their exams.

Guidance for teachers on making their estimates says that if your child would have had reasonable adjustments or other access arrangements (for example extra time, or a scribe), their estimate should have been based on their likely achievement with those adjustments or arrangements in place. It also says that if your child’s performance in things like prelims was affected by illness or other circumstances, teachers should have taken this into account and looked at their performance in other assessments as well.

If you do not feel like your child’s teachers took their individual needs and circumstances into account, it is important to speak to the school about your concerns. They may be able to help you understand how they came up with their estimates, and explain whether your child will be able to appeal their results

Our Reach website has information for your child if they have questions about their grades this year and what they can do if they are unhappy with them.

If your child is not happy with their grades, they may be able to ask for them to be reviewed or ‘appealed’ in certain situations.

Appeals have to come from schools, so the first thing to do if you think your child might want to appeal will be to speak to the school. They will be able to explain how they reached their decision on the estimated grades they gave to the SQA. If you are not happy with this, you can discuss whether the school can submit an appeal for your child grade(s).

The school can only submit an appeal to the SQA if either:

• there has been an administrative error (either by the school, or by the SQA)
• there has been discrimination in the way that the school decided their estimated grades, and following investigation the school now thinks that a different grade should have been given to the SQA.

The school will need to justify the reasons for the appeal, and will need to show that they can provide evidence for the need for an appeal.

If your child’s results affect a conditional offer for college or university, the school must submit the appeal as soon as possible and no later that 25 August. All other requests must be submitted by 7 September.

If the SQA refuse the appeal, they must explain why.

If you think that discrimination might have affected the grade that the school estimated for your child, you can seek advice from the Equality Advisory and Support Service. They are experts in equality law and can help you understand whether your child may have been discriminated against.

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