Never has the anticipation of your exam results been so nerve-racking for so many students than the SQA 2020 exams. With exams not taking place, students have little control over the outcome, causing confusion, frustration and anger towards the SQA and education secretary John Swinney.
There has been a bag of mixed results, some good and some not so good. Here is a quick explainer of how we believe the results were predicted and confirmed to help parents and students get a better idea of where the final grade came from…
How did it work?
The teacher’s assessment is based on several factors. Firstly the prelim results, followed by class test results, coursework and extra curriculum work.
Secondly, the teacher took into account the behaviour of students, along with their attitude and work ethic in class. This is where things get tricky. This is down to the tolerance and judgment of the teacher and thus is the missing link to a lot of confusion; which we will discuss in just a minute.
Lastly, the SQA reviewed the teacher’s decisions and made a final judgment on whether they required regulating or not. Now the problem here is that 75% of teacher recommendations were accepted by the SQA. The remaining 25% were altered, with 96% being taken down at least one grade.
What does it all mean?
As we mentioned previously the missing link we found when speaking to teachers, students and parents was the behavioural and non-academic proportion of the prediction. As a tutor myself I have seen this first hand with several of my students. One, in particular, who was “predicted a B” and based on his behaviour was lowered by 2 grades. The teacher admitted if his behaviour was better their recommendation would have been lowered by one.
Now, this is a controversial topic as depending on your results is whether you agree or disagree with the points being made here. It can be said across the board that students “predicted” A’s could not and would not be lowered to a D or a “no award” it is simply not possible; although some will disagree, the SQA would not lower any students mark by 45%. Either there is more to the situation or the teacher’s recommendation is lower than expected. We do sympathise greatly with students who were genuinely lowered for no apparent reason based on their previous performance in school.
The word “Predicted”
Controversial to popular opinion, the term predicted doesn’t mean guaranteed when it comes to exams. The predicted working grades were 60% of the time wrong. With this in mind it’s hard sometimes to accept that even though you were predicted and “A”, it doesn’t mean you are defiantly going to achieve that in a regular exam situation, vice-versa for being predicted a “B / C”, there’s still no reason why you can’t achieve an “A”. I believe the term predicted need to be taken with a pinch of salt at times.
Where it all went wrong!
So far we have tried to look at the situation from both sides, however, it stops here! What we completely disagree with is the school’s postcode and reputation to determine the student’s final grade. No student should be judged by the ability of their predecessors! This is a major bad call by the SQA, this model inherently undermines the final decision significantly. Each and every student should be judged individually – just as they would have been in a typical exam.
We advise all students not happy with their results to appeal their grades, you can click on the link to take you directly to the SQA Appeals Page for more information. Remember if you are in 5th year going into 6th year you have another shot and getting the grades you fully deserve. For students leaving, just remember this isn’t the end, it just means thinking outside the box, considering alternative options first whether its a college course, apprenticeship or full-time employment. It’s not the end of the world, things will work out.
Let us know your thoughts!
We would love to get your thoughts and experiences with this year’s results. Leave any comments below or contact us for further information or help and advice on appeals.