Association criticises consultation on new S4 qualifications.

The Association has written to the Cabinet Secretary condemning the mechanism used to consult on the new examinations intended to replace Standard Grades and the Intermediate National Qualifications.

The consultation took place earlier this session. Many members responded on an individual basis. Additionally, a formal SSTA view was submitted. Regardless of the merits (or otherwise) of certain of the proposals, the Association commented unfavourably on the questions posed in the consultation, noting that many were loaded towards the provision of supportive responses.

The Association's rejection of proposals from compulsory assessment in Literacy and Numeracy was a major part of our submission. There is no sign that the Government has heeded warnings on this issue: the proposal still figures in arrangements for the new "Curriculum for Excellence".

The Association became alarmed when it was noted that the summary of the results of the consultation attempted to quantify the various responses. It was immediately clear that every organisation submitting a view on any question was regarded as having one "vote". The Association raised objections with the Cabinet Secretary. Members will be informed of any response.

There can be no doubt of the enormous importance of the link between CfE and the new examination arrangements for S4. While the Association is the first to recognise that assessment arrangements cannot drive the curriculum, these arrangements must reflect the curriculum.

The failure to address these concerns does not bode well for prospects in relation to the general acceptance of CfE. The vital "Outcomes and Experiences" (version 2) are now published. Members are strongly encouraged to examine these via the LTS website. The Association's internal consultation on the value of the O&E begins in mid-April. It will be conducted via our new website and members are strongly encouraged to respond.

Jim Docherty

Acting General Secretary

1 April 2009