SQA publishes 2022 appeals outcomes

3 November 2022

Almost 42,000 learners across Scotland are receiving the outcomes of their National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher appeals this week.

SQA shared the outcomes with schools, colleges and training providers on Monday (31 October 2022), with teachers and lecturers in turn communicating these to their learners over the course of this week.

Outcomes at a national level are being published by SQA today (Thursday 3 November) and show that there were 58,035 requests for an appeal, and 17,300 appeals entries were upgraded.

This is the first year that formal exams have taken place since 2019, supported by wide-ranging measures from SQA and the wider education community to mitigate the impact of the global pandemic.

The 2022 appeals service was put in place for one year in light of the unique circumstances of 2022, where most learners were sitting formal exams for the first time following two years of COVID-19 disruption.

While the significantly different circumstances and awarding processes of 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 do not allow for comparison or for conclusions to be drawn on changes in education performance, SQA confirmed in August that this year’s learners achieved a strong performance overall, and one of the strongest to date in an exam year.

The headline figures for Appeals 2022 are:

The 2022 appeals service was the final part of a series of wide-ranging measures from SQA and the wider education community to help to mitigate the impact of the global pandemic on learners.

It enabled eligible learners who didn’t perform as expected on the day of an exam to have the alternative assessment evidence that had been gathered by schools, colleges and training providers throughout the year marked by SQA’s most experienced markers, who are also teachers and lecturers.

To ensure fairness to all, these assessors did not know learners’ exam grades or the estimates from their centre.

Fiona Robertson, SQA’s Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer, said: 'This is the first year that exams have taken place since 2019, but 2022 did not mark a return to normal. It was right that SQA and the wider education community put in place a wide-ranging package of support for learners.

'The final part of this package, the Appeals 2022 service, enabled those learners who didn’t perform to their best on the day to have other assessments gathered throughout the year assessed by experienced subject leaders - teachers and lecturers who work with us throughout the year in creating assessments and supporting markers. They had no knowledge of learners’ exam grades or estimates and assessed the evidence provided by schools and colleges against national standards, and the process was robust, credible and fair.

'When combined with the results in August, this year’s appeals outcomes reflect the strong set of results Scotland’s learners have achieved overall. Learners have shown incredible resilience and commitment, and everyone in Scotland’s education community has worked hard to support their efforts.

'I would encourage those learners who didn’t receive the appeals outcomes they hoped for this year to talk to their teacher or lecturer about their next steps in learning.'

If a learner’s grade has changed, they will receive their new certificate by post later this month.

SQA and the National Qualifications Group are also discussing the approach to awarding in 2023. In April this year, SQA confirmed that changes to the way National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher are assessed will remain in place for the next academic year to take into account disruption to learning caused by the global pandemic.

Now that the appeals process is complete, an evaluation of the approach to awarding in 2022 will take place to help to inform any further measures which are required in 2023.

SQA also today published an analysis of the relationship between estimates – the grades teachers and lecturers submit to SQA based on the evidence of learners’ attainment at that point in time – and results awarded in August.

The data shows close alignment between estimates and exam grades, with 81% of entries having the same grade or higher than their estimate.

The appeals and estimates data is available from the statistics section.