Update from the National Qualifications 2021 Group: Alternative Certification Model Stage 2 – parents and carers

14 April 2021

As your child returns from their Easter break, the National Qualifications 2021 Group* appreciates that you may have questions and will be looking to your child’s school, college or training provider for guidance and support.

Following the cancellation of exams by the Scottish Government, an Alternative Certification Model, the way results will be decided this year, has been created by the National Qualifications 2021 Group* which includes professionals from across the education system, as well as a parents’/carers’ representative and young persons’ representative.

The Group has been clear that results must be based on evidence of ‘demonstrated attainment’. This refers to the assessment evidence that shows your child has the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed to be awarded their grade for the course. It is important that results are based on evidence of learning and skills, so you and your child can have confidence in them.

This means that they need to be assessed in their classrooms. The Group has been clear, however, that there is no need for schools, colleges and training providers to carry out formal replacement exams or prelims.

Gathering evidence

Schools, colleges and training providers have been given guidance for each subject, to help teachers and lecturers assess the skills, knowledge, and understanding your child needs to demonstrate, to be awarded their grade for the course. We expected some disruption to learning this year, so the amount of evidence needed for each course has been reduced to a minimum while making sure that qualifications remain highly respected among future education providers and employers.

Your child’s teachers know them best and supported the return to school in March to finalise learning and teaching in their courses. It is therefore appropriate that they decide on how and when your child will produce the required assessment evidence. This means that many learners will start to undertake assessments after the Easter break, running through May and potentially into June. These assessments will be used to measure your child’s progress and to provide feedback.

The school, college or training provider will let your child know the arrangements for when assessments are taking place and which evidence will count towards their grade. If your child’s personal circumstances mean they are unable to take part in any assessments, please talk to their teachers and lecturers as soon as you can.

Feedback on your child’s progress

When your child goes back, learning and teaching will continue and the school, college or training provider will also assess your child’s evidence and provide them with feedback on their progress.

Next steps and further information

We all remain committed to working together to support teachers and lecturers to provide provisional results for your child so that they get the results that best reflect the work they have done. This will help them to progress to further learning or work.

Stay up to date on National Qualifications for 2021

* The National Qualifications 2021 Group is represented by the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Colleges Scotland, Education Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), School Leaders Scotland (SLS), the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Scottish Government, National Parent Forum of Scotland, and the Scottish Youth Parliament.