Sturgeon admits Scotland got it wrong over exam grades

Brenda Watkins
August 11, 2020

No exams took place due to the coronavirus pandemic, with grades based on teacher assessments and then moderation, which saw many results downmarked.

"And in addition that burden has not fallen equally across our society so despite our best intentions I do acknowledge that we did not get this right and I am sorry for that".

In Scotland this was moderated at a national level by the SQA, a process which led to thousands of pupils complaining that they had received lower grades than originally estimated.

Pupils from the most deprived areas of Scotland had their grades reduced by 15.2% compared with 6.9% in the most affluent parts of the country.

The marking system adopted by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) sparked outrage last week with accusations that many students were marked down as a result of their school's past performance.

The party's education spokesperson Iain Gray said: "John Swinney has presided over the greatest scandal in education in Scotland for decades and for five days refused to acknowledge any failure".

She said ministers had taken "decisions we thought were the right ones" in unprecedented circumstances, but after "a lot of soul searching" had now accepted they were not right.

"The most rapid obstacle is to take care of the grades awarded to pupils this calendar year".

Mr Swinney will set out plans for how to address the issue at Holyrood on Tuesday, but the first minister said "we will not expect every student who has been downgraded to appeal".

Mr Jack said Scottish Education Secretary John Swinney "has shown a lack of judgment", while his United Kingdom counterpart Gavin Williamson is "very aware" of the anger from pupils and parents about the situation ahead of the release of GCSE and A-level results in England.

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"That's the approach I will take, it's the approach the deputy first minister is going to take and I hope that's the one that young people affected and their families will see as the right approach to take".

The first minister stated she "absolved" the skills authority of obligation for the controversy, simply because it made the method at the behest of ministers.

"This is a view that ministers are taking now that it did not choose more than enough account of the person conditions".

Ruaridh Hall, 17, from Edinburgh, had the result in his best subject downgraded by two marks and was given a B in a subject he was predicted to fail in.

"How does that make sense?".

"I think that's disgraceful and it is a postcode lottery for them", Mr Jack said.

"The working class young people who were unfairly treated last week need an urgent solution to this unacceptable situation".

The First Minister also said she is "not prepared" to have young people feel that "no matter how hard they work at school, no matter how seriously they take education, the system is stacked against them".

"It truly is insane because in my English I was predicted a are unsuccessful and I obtained a B, so how is this a truthful system?"

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