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Support services for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher learners – a message for parents and carers

In this blogpost we outline the measures in place to support learners taking National Qualifications exams in 2022.

3 February 2022 - sqablogs2021 - Categories: Advanced Higher, Awarding 2022 Programme, Higher, National 5, Parents

Qualifications 2022

As outlined in our message to parents and carers on 13 January, it is still the clear intention for National 5, Higher and Advanced Highers exams to take place in April to June 2022. The Scottish Government will only cancel the exams if public health advice restricts physical gatherings at the time of the exams.

We understand that the run up to exams can be an anxious time for learners and their parents and carers. This is likely to be especially true this year given that the pandemic continues to impact on education, and that most learners will be sitting formal exams for the first time.

We are working with our partners across the education system – including the National Parent Forum for Scotland – on measures to ensure that the qualifications and grades awarded to your child on Results Day, Tuesday 9 August, are a fair reflection of their knowledge and skills.

Here is a summary of each of these measures:

Revision support for learners

We have continued to closely monitor the levels of disruption to learning and teaching across the country, including learner and staff absences. As a result, this means that we will provide revision support for learners during week beginning 7 March, to help your child prepare and focus their revision, in the run up to the exams.

It is important that this information is not provided too far in advance, to ensure learners have had the opportunity to complete the learning for their courses and focus on their coursework before their attention moves more fully to preparing for exams.

Revision support will be available for all courses that have an exam. The type of revision support for each course will depend on the modifications to assessment that we already made at the start of the session to help reduce the workload of learners and their teachers and lecturers. It will also be tailored to reflect the types of questions that are in the exam and will therefore differ across courses. For some courses, this will include advice and guidance on what topics learners should focus their revision on.

A table showing the type of revision support that will be provided for each course is now available on our website.

Education Scotland, in partnership with e-Sgoil, is also running a series of study support webinars for learners working towards National Qualifications in 2022. Details can be found on the e-Sgoil website and you should speak to your child’s teacher or lecturer if you require further information.

Exam exceptional circumstances service (available while exams are taking place)

Our exam exceptional circumstances service is in place to support your child in the following scenarios:

  • If they are unable to attend an exam due to unforeseen circumstances, such as a medical condition (including Covid-19 related absence) or bereavement. Should your child be unable to attend an exam on these grounds, you will have the opportunity to discuss it with your child’s school, college or training provider.
  • If there has been disruption at your child’s school, college or training provider on the day of the exam, which means the exam can’t take place.

It is normal for learners to feel nervous or anxious before an exam. However, we recognise that there has been a significant increase in the number of young people experiencing mental health issues because of the Covid-19 pandemic. If your child is experiencing mental health issues that go beyond pre-exam nerves or stress, and they feel unable to attend the exam, please discuss this with your child’s school, college or training provider.

Exam exceptional circumstances requests can only be made by your child’s school, college or training provider. We will publish more guidance on this service in the coming weeks that will explain, in more detail, how the service will work and who is eligible. Once this guidance is available you will be able to have a conversation with your child and their school, college or training provider about the criteria for this service.

Your child’s teachers or lecturers are already gathering examples of the assessments your child has been completing in each course. If your child needs to use the exam exceptional circumstances service, their school, college or training provider will send evidence of their assessments to SQA to be reviewed by subject experts, who will judge it against the national standard for that course to determine their grade.

Grading (takes place once exams have been sat and marked)

In recognition of the disruption that learners have faced over the last two years, we will factor in the impact of the pandemic in our approach to grading exams in 2022.

The approach to grading will be based on an established process which ensures learners are treated fairly and which employers, training providers, universities and colleges can have confidence in.

The process uses ‘grade boundaries’ – the marks needed to achieve an A, B or C grade in each course. These boundaries are set by practising teachers and lecturers who are subject experts in each course, who will check that each assessment was set at the right level of difficulty.

Appeals service 2022 (after results have been published on Tuesday 9 August)

As in any year, it is important that there is an appeal process available for learners who want to question their SQA results.

This is a free service, and your child will be able to inform SQA directly that they want to appeal one or more of their results.

There will be a priority appeals service for learners waiting on a result for a university or college place or for an employment or training programme.

This year’s appeals service will involve practising teachers and lecturers reviewing evidence of the assessments that your child has completed through the year. They will judge this evidence against the national standard for that course. SQA will also conduct a clerical check on your child’s exam script.

Through the appeals process, your child would be awarded the higher grade of the two types of evidence (their exam and/or coursework and the assessment evidence submitted in support of the appeal).

Keeping you informed

We will provide more detail on each of the above measures over the coming weeks.

To stay up to date, please visit sqa.org.uk/nq2022 and follow us on Facebook @ScottishQualificationsAuthority.

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