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SQA 'keenly aware' of strong feelings over exams

SQA chief executive Fiona Robertson gives evidence to MSPs
SQA chief executive Fiona Robertson gives evidence to MSPs

The chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) tells the committee she is "keenly aware" of the strength of feeling over last week's results.

Fiona Robertson said the SQA's approach was based on "maintaining standards over time", as the body was directed to do in March.

She told the committee that the SQA had adopted three core principals "in good faith".

These were:

  1. Fairness to all learners
  2. Safe and secure certification given the public health crisis
  3. Maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualification system

Contingency plans to be developed in case 2021 exams disrupted

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

John Swinney says that contingency plans will be prepared in case exams are disrupted next spring.

He told BBC Scotland that the SQA was consulting on "various changes" to the current approach to exams that would "reduce the burden of examination" on young people.

The Scottish government has also asked Professor Mark Priestley from Stirling University to carry out an independent review of the events which followed the cancellation of exams this year.

Mr Swinney said the findings of this review would be applied to any contingency plans that would be prepared in case learning or exams were disrupted during the coming academic year.

Swinney: SQA 'fulfilled mandate' to maintain standards

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

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Asked if the results chaos could have been avoided, John Swinney said the SQA had delivered results based on a model that was developed over "many weeks and months".

The education secretary said he had directed the SQA in March to create a model that maintained standards.

He told Good Morning Scotland that the SQA had "fulfilled that mandate", but after relecting and listening to feedback he decided to change the position "as quickly as I possibly could do".

Having listened to the reaction of young people to those results, I concluded that we had not taken enough account of the trauma and the difficulty created by Covid in the lives of those young people.

John SwinneyEducation Secretary

Swinney: 'I am accountable as a minister' to parliament

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

John Swinney

The education secretary has defended his delay in responding to concerns over the exam results.

John Swinney said it was right he waited to announce to the Scottish Parliament why the Scottish government was taking a different approach.

"I thought it was important that I made that statement to parliament, to where I am accountable as a minister, to explain openly and honestly why we were taking a different stance. I think that’s a right thing for me to do," he said.

There was an outcry from pupils and parents after a moderation system saw 125,000 estimated results being downgraded.

Mr Swinney told Good Morning Scotland that the Scottish government had to recognise that 2020 was an “absolutely unique and extraordinary year”.