FOI23/24 017 Reintroducing Coursework

Date published: 15/11/2023

FOI reference: 23/24 017

Date received: 11/05/2023

Date responded: 06/06/2023

Information requested

I would be grateful if you could provide the following information under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

The SQA said in a recent response to a story running on the Tes Scotland website that “The decision to reintroduce coursework in 2024 was made in the best interests of learners and followed engagement with teachers, lecturers, universities, colleges and unions, among others. This engagement built on an evaluation of awarding in 2022 and highlighted concerns about the detrimental impact temporary Covid modifications can have on learners’ development of knowledge, skills and understanding and on their progression into further or higher education or employment.”

Could you please share in full

1) any information you hold setting out what the “engagement” referenced in this SQA response consisted of e.g surveys of teachers and lecturers/ focus groups etc

2) any information you hold relating to the findings/outcome of the “engagement” e.g any reports compiled based on any survey of teachers and lecturers/ focus groups etc

Basically if the SQA carried out research ahead of making the decision to reintroduce coursework in 2024 I would like to see the findings of that research in full.


The decision to reintroduce coursework was informed by SQA’s evaluation of NQ Awarding 2022, which included surveys of learners and practitioners, SQA staff and senior appointees, SQA statistical analyses and the experience of awarding meetings in 2022. As findings from the evaluation work were collated, SQA engaged with the NQ23 working group, NQ23 strategic group, SQA’s Advisory Council, SQA’s Qualifications Committee and SQA’s Board of Management. These groups represent a very wide range of stakeholders including practitioners, learners, parents and carers, school and college leaders, Local Authority representatives, leaders and experts in education in Scotland and the rest of the UK.

In addition, SQA undertook careful analysis of the Awarding process for each course. In many courses the impact of modifications to course assessment meant that learners had not been able to demonstrate the usual range of knowledge, skills and understanding, and substantial changes to grade boundaries were necessary. This indicated that learners had been unintentionally disadvantaged by the modifications and were less well prepared for progression.

We can confirm that the full evaluation has been published today, 06 June 2023.

SQA's evaluation of the 2022 Approach to Assessment of Graded National Courses