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Coronavirus and additional support for learning

What do the changes mean for my child’s exams and coursework assessments?

If your child was due to have exams or coursework assessments this term you will already know that SQA assessments for all Scottish school pupils are not taking place this year.

This may be worrying or frustrating for both you and your child. If your child has additional support needs, they may be particularly worried about these changes and what they mean for their results.

This year results will be based on your child’s estimated grades – the grades their teachers expected them to get. Teachers are expected to look at all the work your child has already done across the year and their knowledge and understanding of the subject shown in their work. This will be used to decide their grades. Your child will get their results on Tuesday the 4th of August 2020.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) have information on their website to help young people, parents and carers understand how this will be done, and answer frequently asked questions you may have about what this will mean for your child.

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 will now have an impact on their grades this year.

The aim of the estimations is to be fair to all pupils as possible. Their teachers will use 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 be 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 take this into account and look at their performance in other assessments as well.

Once your child has their results, if they are not happy with their grades they may be able to ask for them to be reviewed or ‘appealed’. Your child or you will need to tell the school that you are not happy with their grade, and that you would like the school to appeal the result. For the school to send the SQA an appeal, the grade awarded on 4 August must be lower than the estimated grade the school submitted. The school must also have appropriate assessment evidence they can send with the appeal.

There can be a risk to appealing grades, as in very rare circumstances the SQA could give a lower grade on appeal if they think the evidence sent by the school does not back up the grade they gave you. Therefore, if you are concerned about your child’s grades and are thinking about asking the school to appeal them, discuss this with the school first. You can ask for their advice on whether your child could appeal their grades and whether they should do so.

We know some people will be concerned about what these changes mean in practice and how they may affect your child’s education and future. As well as reading the SQA’s information, you may find it helpful to speak to your child’s school about your concerns. You can also contact our helpline for further advice.

Your child may find it helpful to speak to their school about their concerns, for example to their pastoral care or guidance teacher. Our website for children and young people, reach.scot, also has a page on how the coronavirus impacts on their exams and course assessments.

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Resources/Advice for Young People/

Reach is our website for young people offering advice on learning and support during coronavirus.

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