SQA update on NQ 2020 certification – 20 April 2020

Message sent on behalf of Fiona Robertson, SQA Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer

Dear colleague

Please find below a message that has been sent this afternoon, to schools and colleges and Directors of Education, providing information on producing estimates for National Courses, in the 2019-20 session.

In addition, I have provided further detail on the alternative certification model, that we will use, so that we can provide results to learners by 4 August – https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/93920.html

Information for schools and colleges and local authorities on producing estimates for National Courses

Monday 20 April 2020

Dear colleagues

As you know, in response to the cancellation of this year’s exam diet, we have been working on developing an alternative certification model, to ensure the hard work of Scotland’s learners is fully recognised through our qualifications system.

As I announced on 2 April, the first step in this year’s certification process, is to ask all schools and colleges to continue to provide us with estimated grades and bands for all your learners entered for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses.

As there are no exams and it is not feasible for us to mark coursework, given the current public health advice, we need your help to give us more detailed estimate information.

We have therefore refined the existing system. Firstly, by subdividing each existing band and asking you to place your learners within these refined bands. Secondly, by asking you to rank order your learners within each refined band.

It is critical that we receive this information from you by Friday 29 May, to allow us to deliver results for young people by 4 August.

We understand that you will need time to have departmental and faculty discussions, in order to provide this information. We are also conscious that this will be more challenging with school and college closures.

We are therefore providing the following resources to support you with this work:

Today (20 April 2020)

  • Our Frequently Asked Questions, available on the dedicated section of our website, includes some information on producing estimates, and will be updated regularly to address your questions.

Week beginning 27 April 2020

  • We are designing an online course, which we hope will be helpful to you, to take you through the process of determining estimated grades, bands and rank order. This will be available on SQA Academy and we will let you know how to access it.

Week beginning 4 May 2020

  • Centre Tables, which will provide information on the estimates that you have made, as well as the attainment achieved by your learners each August, for the past three years. The information will be provided for each subject and level.

Week beginning 11 May 2020

  • We are working hard to ensure that a new service on our centre portal, SQA Connect, will be available to you. This will provide a list of all your learners for whom we have an accepted entry and is where you will input the required estimate information. You will have the opportunity to ‘save as you go’, before making a final submission for each course. A user guide will be provided to you in advance of the service opening. You are encouraged to do as much preparation work as possible, including ensuring that your entry information is fully up to date, before this service becomes available.

Given the circumstances, we have closed our Exceptional Circumstances and Assessment Arrangements services, and you no longer need to submit requests to us.

However, for those learners who had illness, other personal circumstances and/or assessment arrangement requirements during the year, information about how to take these into account as part of the estimate process, is available in the Information for centres – Producing Estimates document.

I hope this update is helpful to you. I fully appreciate that we are asking you for more detail about the estimated grades of your learners than we would in any normal year, but refined estimates and rankings will help us with any subsequent moderation process, to ensure fairness to all learners across Scotland.

I am very grateful for the continuing support of teachers and lecturers. By working in partnership, we can achieve our common goal, of ensuring that learners’ hard work is rightly and fairly recognised.

Thank you for all you are doing to support Scotland’s learners.

Fiona Robertson

SQA Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer