Now that learners who were working towards National courses and awards over the past year have received their provisional results, and schools, colleges, and training providers have sent their quality assured data to SQA, the process begins to collate that information, and produce tens of thousands of results certificates, emails and text messages ready for delivery on Tuesday 10 August.
There are often questions about why it takes so long for results to be returned to learners.
It is worth remembering that National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher courses are not the only awards being certificated this summer.
Over 520,000 individual qualifications or over 800,000 unit components (the bits that make up our qualifications) covering the breadth of SQA’s portfolio of National Units, National Courses, Awards, National Progression Awards, National Certificates, Skills for Work courses, and the Scottish Baccalaureate will be confirmed to candidates in August.
We also award qualifications that are being taken as part of Foundation Apprenticeships, allowing learners to complete elements of a Modern Apprenticeship and spend part of their school week at college and with a local employer.
Altogether, over 140,000 candidates will each receive their results certificates this year. Those with earlier achievements – for instance, their grades from S4, and S5 – will also have these included in their results certificate, along with qualifications from this year.
Processing that data is a significant undertaking. When we receive data from schools, colleges and training providers, it then goes through a reconciliation process – where we undertake multiple rigorous checks to make sure the data a centre says it is supplying is complete and matches the data we have received.
This is a lengthy process – ensuring that each centre correctly sends each piece of information for each of the courses and awards that each of their learners has undertaken. It takes time to do it right.
UCAS – the university and college application service – also receives results data, and the outcomes of Higher National Certificates and Diplomas, so information can be passed on to individual colleges and universities and they can finalise their offers to learners.
Learners’ results data is also given to our secure printer to produce the 140,000 certificates that will be posted first class to arrive on Tuesday 10 August – more information about your Scottish Qualifications Certificate can be found here.
That means we also must work closely with the Royal Mail to ensure that candidates in remote communities across the highlands, and islands receive their postal results on the same day as those on the mainland.
Similarly, results data is also collated for learners with MySQA accounts who have asked that their results be sent to them by text and email as well as by post. It is essential, of course, that all these results match, and they are correct not just in terms of being the right result but being presented to the right individual.
This is a crucial task, but one that could not be done without the continuing dedication of Scotland’s teachers, lecturers and support staff who have worked tirelessly over the past year to support their learners.
Great care has been taken by everyone working across Scottish education to make sure learners have results they can rightly be proud of.
Information on the support available for learner from SQA, and partner organisations including Skills Development Scotland, is available here.
If you have not done so already, you can sign-up for MySQA here.