SQA comments on Deputy First Ministerís decision to cancel Higher and Advanced Higher exams

Tuesday 8 December 2020

The Deputy First Minister has today announced further changes to the awarding of National Courses in 2020-21, with now no external assessments of Higher or Advanced Higher courses.  On this basis, the 2021 National Qualifications examination diet has been cancelled.

This announcement follows the statement made by the Deputy First Minister on 7 October, confirming that there would be no external assessment, or examinations for National 5 courses.

Since the Deputy First Ministerís announcement on 7 October, I have chaired the 2021 National Qualifications Group with membership drawn from a broad range of stakeholders across Scottish education. This group, and its supporting working group, has co-created the alternative certification model that will be used to award National 5 courses this year. The details of the model have been announced by the group today.

Based on the existing work of these groups on the contingency arrangements for Higher and Advanced Higher, we anticipate that the approach to awarding Highers and Advanced Highers can now follow broadly the same model and timeline set for National 5 courses, but with more flexibility around the nature of the learner evidence needed to inform awards.

Following the announcement today, and at the request of the Deputy First Minister, we will now work through the finer details of this approach at pace, to provide clarity and certainty to the system.

Fiona Robertson
Chief Executive and Scotlandís Chief Examining Officer