SQA announcement on National Qualifications - EIS response

Created on: 18 Aug 2021 | Last modified: 06 Oct 2021

Commenting on today’s announcement by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) on plans for National Qualifications in 2021-22, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said:

“The EIS is very clear that with regard to next year’s qualifications the priority for schools is to focus on teaching and learning and not to simply start gathering assessment evidence in case it is needed for ‘contingency purposes’. Students cannot be assessed before learning and skills development have been enabled.

"The danger in the advice issued by the SQA is that is initiates a dual approach – continuous assessment as a contingency and working towards an exam diet – which will create another workload challenge for teachers and an assessment overload for students. The EIS supports the use of professional judgement if it is required but it should be for teachers, not the SQA, to determine the appropriate evidence base for that.”

“It remains to be seen whether the reductions in course content for this year as recognition that young people have been adversely affected by the pandemic through no fault of their own, will suffice.

"It is essential that appropriate and robust contingencies are in place should it be necessary to cancel the exam diet on public health grounds – but this must be without repeating the assessment workload of last session or creating an assessment treadmill.

"We saw earlier this year the damage caused by decisions being made too late without adequate contingences in place and the huge workload and stress that was placed on students and staff as a result."