Scotland

Exam paper access delay for teachers 'more secure'

Exam room Image copyright PA
Image caption Candidates have not been allowed to take papers out of the exam room for several years

Teachers will not have access to exam papers until the day after each test takes place, under changes brought in by the exams agency the SQA.

The largest teachers' union, the EIS, has condemned the move, but the SQA said the changes should improve security and confidentiality.

For several years, candidates have not been able to take exam papers out of the exam room.

However, teachers had access to the papers once the exam had finished.

In recent years there have been a number of occasions when candidates condemned question papers on social media - on some occasions, the concerns they raised about the level of difficulty were not reflected in the exam results.

Last year, a new question paper was issued in Higher English at relatively short notice amid concern the contents of the original paper were at risk of leaking out.

The EIS says the SQA should rethink the policy.

Image copyright PA

EIS general secretary Larry Flanagan said: "It is disappointing that the SQA is apparently putting the management of its own public image ahead of the desire of pupils to discuss exam papers with their teachers.

"It is very important for pupils, following the often stressful experience of an exam, to have the opportunity to discuss the paper with their teachers and to receive feedback while the experience is fresh in their mind.

"This then allows pupils to put that exam behind them, and free them up to mentally prepare for their next exam.

"It is not in the interest of pupils to prolong this process unnecessarily, as this can lead to increased worry and stress on the part of the young people concerned."

The SQA said it continually reviewed its processes in areas such as question paper confidentiality and security.

A spokesman said: "At the end of each exam, invigilators are required to collect all exam papers, which are then returned to the chief invigilators.

"Those papers will now be released to heads of centres the next day.

"We took this decision to prevent any breach of question paper security and confidentiality, but to also remove the risk of inappropriate postings on social media which can cause distress for candidates."

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