SQA Appeals Service 2021 – a guide for learners

This has been a really challenging year for learners across the country. As a result of the pandemic, you have had to cope with a lot of disruption for over a year now and get to grips with the new way qualifications are being awarded.

SQA has outlined the appeals service that will be used as part of the system that will award this year’s National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher qualifications – called the alternative certification model.

Your teachers and lecturers are using a range of assessment evidence to decide what your results should be, and every effort is being made to ensure you get the right result, first time. However, the ability to appeal your grade is important.

The free appeals service, available directly to learners for the first time, is the fifth and final stage of the model.

The grounds for appeal are broad. There are three types of appeal:

  • an appeal against the academic judgement made;
  • an appeal against an unresolved administrative error;
  • an appeal on grounds of discrimination where:

(i)  there has been a breach of the Equality Act 2010 (which must have been either acknowledged by your school, college or training provider or established by a court or the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman), or

(ii)  your school, college or training provider failed to provide agreed Assessment Arrangements.

Frequently Asked Questions and an information booklet for learners are available.

There is also a helpful interactive guide that shows what this year’s appeals means for you.

Appeals Service  – what happens when

The various stages of the appeals process are outlined below. An interactive guide to what happens at each of these stages can be found on our website.

How are you taking into account disruption to learning?

Your school, college or training provider will submit your provisional grades to SQA by Friday 25 June 2021. This means that you will have completed all your course assessments by this date.

For a small number of you, personal circumstances may mean that, through no fault of your own, you are unable to complete all the required course assessments by Friday 25 June.

Personal circumstances might include:

  • a medical condition
  • a requirement to self-isolate or shield due to COVID, either as a case or a close contact
  • a bereavement or other trauma

If you think this applies to you, please speak to your teacher or lecturer, who will help you decide on the best course of action.

Following this discussion, it may be agreed that you should complete your assessments at a later date. In this instance, your school, college or training provider has until noon on Friday 3 September 2021 to submit your provisional grades to SQA.

This arrangement is in place to support learners who have experienced severe disruption to learning due to personal circumstances of the types listed above. It is not an opportunity to delay sitting an assessment or to resit an assessment.

It has been agreed that I will complete my assessments at a later date – how will this work?

This arrangement is in place for learners who have undertaken all the required learning for the course but have been unable to complete the required assessments. Therefore, no additional teaching time at your school, college or training provider is required.

Your school, college or training provider will identify the assessments that you need to undertake to complete your course.

Your school, college or training provider will arrange a suitable time, after the summer holidays, for you to undertake these assessments.

If you are leaving school, college or your training provider this summer, you will need to return to them to undertake these assessments.

Universities and colleges are aware that some learners will be certificated for their courses at a later date and they should account for this in their admissions process.

If I complete my assessments at a later date, will I still be able to appeal my results?

Yes. You will be able to appeal any results submitted to SQA by noon on Friday 3 September.

However, due to UCAS deadlines, it will not be possible to use the priority appeals service.

Where can I find more information on the appeals service?

Support to help answer any questions you may have about next steps and your options is available.

For updates, follow us on Twitter @mysqa_sam and on Facebook @MySQA.

This booklet provides information on how appeals will work.