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SQA Results In Highland - 5000 increases in grade across all schools

14th August 2020

On Tuesday 11 August 2020, Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, announced in the Scottish Parliament a change to the way that SQA results would be decided.

In some cases, the moderation process carried out by the SQA during July and August had meant that candidates might be awarded a lower or higher grade than their teacher had estimated. This had affected some candidates in one or more of their results, though some candidates were not affected at all.

The new arrangement announced on Tuesday means that candidates:

who had their grades reduced by the SQA moderation process will now receive the grades that their teachers estimated.

who had their grade increased by the SQA moderation process from their teacher's estimate (which was very infrequent), will retain these increased grades.

Once SQA has processed all of these changes, new certificates will be sent out to candidates who have received upgrades. This will take some time and we do not yet have a date on which all certificates will be delivered, though the SQA has stated that they intend to have these sent out by Friday 21 August.

These changes will only affect some candidates who sat National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses. National 2, 3 and 4 courses and unit passes are not affected at all as teacher estimates stood for all of these.

Next steps

All National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher candidates in session 2019/20 will receive a communication from their school explaining the Scottish Government's policy change on results. Candidates with any changes to their grade will be informed as soon as possible, before the SQA’s target date of Friday 21 August.

All National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher candidates will receive from their school a confirmation letter with a summary of the grades now achieved by the individual. This will provide clarification to all candidates, and their families, of their results in advance of the SQA’s reissued certificates.

Impact on Highland schools

We have gathered data from schools about the impact of this change of policy by the Scottish Government. SQA has not yet updated the databases that it makes available to schools, so each school’s SQA Coordinator has compiled the relevant data from their own records. This collected data indicates that there will be more than 5000 increases in grade across all schools and all levels of award.

It is not yet possible to analyse how the new overall Highland SQA results will compare with the national picture, or with other local authorities, as that detail has not yet been released by SQA.


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