Title/Summary

Awarding 2022 - Exceptional circumstances/appeals

Details of the exceptional circumstances and appeals services for 2022.

FAQs

When will SQA publish more details on this year’s exam exceptional circumstances and appeals services?

Information on the Exam Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service 2022 (EECCS) can be found on our website at www.sqa.org.uk/exceptionalcircumstances. SQA co-ordinators can now find EECCS Information for centre guidance within SQA Connect. We will notify schools, colleges and training providers when appeals 2022 information is available.

Will SQA provide learners, parents, and carers with information on these services?

Yes, we are continuing to publish new information on our parent and carer blog at https://blogs.sqa.org.uk/qualifications2022 and we will also be sharing information for learners across social media.

Should a learner sit the exam if they have been absent for much of the year?

Yes, we would always encourage learners to attempt the exam where possible. Learners who complete the exam and have underperformed relative to their estimate will be eligible for the 2022 appeals service.

Can learners use the Examination Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service (EECCS) if they are absent due to COVID-19?

We have updated Examination Exceptional Circumstances information in line with the latest Scottish Government public health guidance.

Can learners who have been through EECCS use the 2022 Appeals Service?

Learners who have undergone Examination Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service (EECCS) consideration are excluded from the 2022 appeals service for the same qualification. This is because EECCS consideration includes a review of alternative evidence related to the request. Please see Appeals Process: Information for centres for information on appeals for EECCS. However, should learners believe the EECCS process has not been followed correctly, they can appeal their EECC result on procedural grounds.

When should centres notify SQA of an exceptional circumstance and what is the deadline?

Each qualification will have its own closing date for requests to be made and for evidence to be received at SQA. The closing date for submitting a request is 10 working days after the exam for which the request is being made.

Why doesn't this year’s exceptional circumstances service include disruption in the lead up to exams?

We had already anticipated that learners across the country would be affected by ongoing disruption to learning and teaching this year, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. To address this, we made significant modifications to the course assessments (coursework and exams) at the start of the session to help reduce the volume of assessment and ease learner workload.

How do centres notify SQA of an exam exceptional circumstance and when should they do this?

This is covered within the EECCS guidance published in SQA Connect.

How should centres submit evidence for an exam exceptional circumstances request?

This is covered within the EECCS guidance published in SQA Connect.

What if a learner has been absent a lot throughout session 2021-22 (for example, due to a medical condition) but they are now able to attend the exam?

We would always encourage learners to attempt the exam wherever possible. If the learner sits the exam but believes their performance has been affected by a circumstance beyond their control in the lead up to the exam, they should wait until they receive their results on 9 August. If the learner wants to question their result, they can submit an appeal and request that SQA views alternative assessment evidence to cover the whole course. Their school, college or training provider would need to send this alternative evidence to SQA on the learner’s behalf.

What if a learner sits the exam but informs their school, college or training provider the next day of a circumstance that affected their exam performance? Would they be eligible for the exam exceptional circumstances service?

If the learner has completed the timetabled exam, and there has been no disruption on the day of the exam as reported by the Chief Invigilator, the learner will not be eligible for the exam exceptional circumstances service. However, once the learner receives their results from SQA on 9 August, if they want to question a result, they may be able to submit an appeal and request that SQA views alternative assessment evidence.

The school, college or training provider will need to submit alternative assessment evidence to SQA on the learner’s behalf. This is the same evidence that you would send to us for an exam exceptional circumstances request.

What if a learner is self-isolating at the time of the exam?

If a learner is unable to attend the exam because they are self-isolating, they will be eligible for the exam exceptional circumstances service. This service covers Covid-19 related absence, including personal illness and self-isolation in line with current public health guidance.

Do centres need to provide proof of why a learner has not turned up for an exam?

Before any request is submitted, the head of centre must use their professional judgement to determine whether a learner's non-attendance at an exam is the result of an exceptional circumstance.

It is important to note that SQA will not make the decision on whether to submit a request. This decision lies with the head of centre. When considering COVID-related reasons for absence, the public health guidance in place at the time of the exam should be the key reference point in judging whether a candidate is eligible for exceptional circumstances.

Should a centre submit an exceptional circumstance request if they do not believe the learner has a good reason for missing the exam?

The exceptional circumstances service is intended to support learners who are unable to attend the exam due to a reason beyond their control, such as a medical condition or bereavement. Centres (schools, colleges and training providers) should use their best judgement to decide, in discussion with the learner, whether they have a valid reason for missing the exam and are therefore eligible for this service.

Centres should only submit an exam exceptional circumstances request for a learner who has a valid reason for not attending the exam, and we will ask the Head of Centre to provide a letter or statement that confirms this.

What happens if a learner takes unwell during the exam and is unable to finish it?

If a learner takes unwell during an exam and is unable to complete the exam as a result, their centre can submit an exam exceptional circumstances request. The centre will need to send alternative assessment evidence to SQA, which our SQA appointees will review alongside the learner’s partially completed exam script.

Will SQA take different approaches to reviewing alternative assessment evidence for the exceptional circumstances and appeals services?

No, we will use the same approach for both services. The evidence will be judged against the national standard for that course.

Can a learner appeal their result if they achieve a lower grade than their estimate?

Through the 2022 appeals service, a learner who achieves a lower grade than their estimate can request an appeal. The learner should discuss this with their school, college or training provider first, before asking them to submit alternative assessment evidence to SQA for independent review.

Learners who have undergone EECCS consideration are excluded from the 2022 appeals service for the same qualification. This is because EECCS consideration includes a review of alternative evidence related to the request. However, should learners believe the EECCS process has not been followed correctly, they can appeal their EECCS result on procedural grounds.

How is the 2022 appeals service different from the post-results service that normally operates after exams?

The 2022 appeals service will involve SQA appointees reviewing alternative assessment evidence that the learner has completed through the year. SQA will also conduct a clerical check on the exam script. All learners will have free direct access to the 2022 appeals service.

No alternative evidence is considered as part of the post-results service that normally operates following an exam diet. The post-results service involves a clerical check or marking review of the learner’s exam script, to check that the learner was awarded the correct grade, and requests can only be made by centres.

I have tested positive for COVID having taken a lateral flow test but have no symptoms – can I attend my exam?

You should follow public health guidance in place on the day of your exam.

If you test positive for COVID (either via a lateral flow test or a PCR test) up to and including 30 April you should self-isolate regardless of whether or not you have symptoms.

From 1 May onwards it is not recommended that children and young people are tested for COVID-19 unless directed to by a health professional. However, if a child or young person has a positive COVID-19 test result even if they have no symptoms they should stay at home and avoid contact with other people for 3 days after the day they took the test, if they can.

It is really important that you speak to the school/college if exam attendance is not possible for any reason so that you get the advice and support you need.

Background:

For exams taking place before 1 May, the current public health guidance remains in place with PCR testing available for individuals who are symptomatic, and contact tracing and isolation guidance also remaining in place. Population wide asymptomatic testing (LFD universal offer) ended in mid-April, including in schools. From 1 May, people with symptoms of respiratory illness in Scotland, including COVID-19, will be asked to follow general public health guidance which will be available on 1 May on NHS Inform. In this, the general public will no longer be advised to seek a test if symptomatic and children and young people who are unwell and have a high temperature will be advised to stay at home.

I tested positive before 1 May and have been self-isolating – do I need to continue to self-isolate when the new public health guidance comes into effect on 1 May?

Individuals mid-way through a self-isolation period should follow the revised guidance from 1 May. This means that if they were identified as a close contact, they may leave isolation or end daily LFD testing on 1 May. If they have tested positive they should follow the revised guidance to 'stay at home' for 3 days if they are 18 years and under, and 5 days if they are over 18 years from the day after they took the test.