Has the SQA “lost the confidence of Parliament”?

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THE SQA has lost the confidence of the Scottish Parliament, according to Scottish Greens education spokesperson Ross Greer MSP. 

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Greer highlighted ongoing concerns around this year’s assessments and questioned whether the exam body had the capacity to deal with the volume of appeals. 

This came during a series of urgent questions in response on the SQA having once again missed its deadline for publishing details of how this year’s appeals process will work.

Education - Education News Scotland
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash. Mr Greer told recently appointed Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville that the exams agency had ‘lost the confidence of Parliament and the public’.

Ross Greer MSP said: “It’s extremely disappointing that young people and their teachers will have to wait at least another week before they know how this year’s appeals system will work.

“Thousands of pupils are more than half way through their timetable of pseudo-exams, without any idea of the evidence required to lodge an appeal.

“There will now be very little time left to produce this evidence before the end of term.

“I am seriously concerned about the SQA’s ability to handle a significant volume of appeals and the effect this could have on university and college admissions.

It was clear by spring that the SQA had lost the confidence of Parliament and the public, so it’s time for decisive action from the new Education Secretary.” 

exam - education News Scotland
Photo by Nguyen Dang Hoang Nhu on Unsplash. The SQA are unaware of the Scottish Government stating they have lost confidence in them.

The SQA made us aware that the decision to cancel exams this year was one taken by the Deputy First Minister, not the SQA.

The Cabinet Secretary for Education announced in Parliament yesterday that she would be making a statement on appeals next week, in response to the Scottish Greens accusations.

An SQA spokesman said: “The outcomes of the appeals consultation are currently being finalised, following the public consultation.

“We aim to announce details of the appeals process imminently.

“Learners should be reassured that a comprehensive appeals process will be in place in good time.

“The current focus should be on maximising teaching and learning and the gathering of evidence to support the development of provisional grades.

“We want to reassure students that everyone in Scottish education is working hard on their behalf to ensure that this year’s alternative certification model allows learners to achieve fair and credible grades.”