National Qualifications 2021 – an important message from organisations working across Scottish education
14 May 2021
The National Qualifications 2021 Group* was established last autumn and has been meeting weekly. The group developed the Alternative Certification Model (ACM) in use this year and has continued to revise it in light of the second period of lockdown and remote learning.
We want to reassure students that everyone in Scottish education is working hard on their behalf to ensure that the ACM allows learners to achieve fair and credible grades, with every step possible being taken to ensure young people’s wellbeing is protected through the process.
At the heart of the model is demonstrated attainment, that is evidence of learning and skills. Based on that evidence, teachers and lecturers will exercise their professional judgement to determine provisional grades for learners. Those grades will not then be altered by the SQA unless an administrative error is discovered.
We understand that this is a challenging time and that the extended period of remote learning during lockdown has meant that many learners are producing evidence (undertaking assessments) over a shorter period of time in schools and colleges than originally planned.
Notwithstanding this, teachers and lecturers in schools and colleges are working hard to deliver the qualifications students deserve and we call on everyone to support both that effort and our young people through what will naturally be an anxious and stressful period for many.
It is important to highlight the followings facts about the model:
- the ACM gives schools and colleges flexibility around the timing and nature of assessment to ensure that, as far as possible, there is maximum opportunity for learners to undertake the required learning and be given the best chance to succeed in any course assessments.
- the timeline for submission of provisional results has been extended to 25 June, providing as much time as possible to schools, colleges and students.
- local and national support is in place to ensure provisional results are based on national standards.
- the SQA is working with schools, colleges and local authorities to ensure grades are fair and its feedback from the SQA will be important in informing the judgements that teachers and lecturers make but the SQA will not change individual learners’ grades as a result of any moderation process.
- the support available on national learning platform e-Sgoil has been extended to learners who, for a variety of reasons, have experienced extreme disruption to their learning.
- contingency arrangements are being developed for later certification for a small number of learners who have completed their course but have experienced particularly significant disruption that has meant they have been unable to complete all the required evidence.
- an appeals process for learners is being developed and will be published shortly.
Our key message to learners is that your grades will be judged by your teachers and lecturers, based on your assessment evidence and every effort is being made to ensure equity and support your wellbeing throughout the process.
We all remain committed to working together to ensuring that learners get the national qualification grades that they deserve.
* Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Colleges Scotland, Education Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) School Leaders Scotland (SLS), the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Scottish Government and the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP).