Tireless commitment and professionalism of Scotland's educators has delivered for this year's candidates - Results Day

Monday 09 August 2021

Fiona Robertson SQA Chief Executive
Fiona Robertson

Results Day, when learners receive their certificates and find out their grades, is always a significant and important annual date in the calendar.

Results Day, when learners receive their certificates and find out their grades, is always a significant and important annual date in the calendar.

This year is very different for lots of reasons, not least because teacher judgement has replaced exams and because learners already know their grades after receiving provisional results before the end of term.

The 2021 approach to assessment - the alternative certification model (ACM) as it is formally known - has not been without its critics.

Perhaps that was inevitable given the need to agree and build a new model at pace, but it was the best possible solution in the exceptional circumstances we faced and I have yet to hear a credible alternative put forward. 

As we approach Results Day 2021 tomorrow, it is time to put those criticisms aside and to focus on paying tribute to the tremendous efforts made by Scotland’s young people in what has been a very difficult and challenging time for many.

It's also important to recognise the tireless professionalism and commitment of Scotland’s teachers, lecturers and support staff who have gone the extra mile to do their utmost for their learners, whom they know best.

Following the cancellation of exams by the Deputy First Minister, the education sector came together last autumn to form the National Qualifications 2021 Group, which was tasked with developing and implementing an alternative.

There was no ‘off the shelf’ solution but we quickly agreed that the ACM had to have evidence of learners’ learning and skills at its heart.

And so provisional results, decided by teachers and lecturers using assessments completed by learners that followed the national standard set by SQA, were used to award this year’s National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher courses. Those provisional results are the same as the final results learners will receive tomorrow unless the SQA, in very exceptional circumstances, discovered an administrative error.

As we all know, through this year there have been further restrictions and lockdowns and together with teachers, lecturers, learners, parents and carers, the ACM had to quickly adapt.
Ways in which the model adapted include the in-built flexibility around when and how schools and colleges assessed learners so that they had the best chance to demonstrate their knowledge and skills. 

A big congratulations to each and every learner getting their certificate tomorrow. You have achieved so much. 

 

Fiona Robertson

SQA Chief Executive, and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer

This article was first published in The Herald, on Monday 09 August 2021