Coronavirus in Scotland: Confusion over 'tests' and 'exams' for school pupils needs to be cleared up quickly – Steve Cardownie

A most welcome aspect of the relaxation of some lockdown measures has been the re-opening of schools and the return of pupils.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 4:45 pm
Thousands of children across Scotland have returned to school (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The impact of temporary school closures on their education will no doubt be made known over the coming weeks and months but suffice to say that the ability of schools to adapt is a major concern for parents and pupils alike.

As a parent of a pupil who aspires to acquire the maximum number of Higher qualifications this year, I am concerned that the time spent away from school will have detrimental consequences that could affect his life chances.

Despite his assurances that he is confident of achieving his goal and that his plans are still on track, I am not so confident that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is sufficiently qualified to deal with the lockdown’s aftermath.

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There is some confusion afoot about how teachers are expected to complete their pupil assessments and whether or not any “tests” that they have been advised to oversee as part of that assessment are the equivalent of “exams” in all but name.

Has the SQA’s advice been consistent throughout? I only ask because there appears to be an element of doubt in some academic circles which would point to the contrary.

Hopefully all will become clear very soon if last year’s experience is not to be repeated – but time is of the essence. Pupils deserve to see a clear route map out of this potentially damaging situation. Their potential must not be curtailed by indecision and confusion.

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