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How will pupils whose exams have been cancelled earn their grades?

National 5 exams have been cancelled for 2021.

With National 5 exams cancelled next year, tens of thousands of pupils will receive grades based on the work they do in class.

Marks given on August 10, next year will be based on teacher judgements.

How will grades be determined?

Between two to four pieces of pupils’ work per subject will be formally graded by teachers.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is to publish guidance for teachers on how they should gather evidence and make their estimations.

There will subject-specific guidance on the key pieces of work that young people will need to complete.

The SQA will also work with schools and colleges throughout the year to assure the quality of assessment of youngsters’ work.

Highers and Advanced Highers

Cancellation of National 5 exams is aimed at reducing the risk that Higher and Advanced Highers will need to be called off due to the pandemic.

National 5s make up more than half of the exams sat across Scotland, and withdrawing these candidates will make it easier for the tests to be conducted with measures including physical distancing in place.

Higher and Advanced Highers will begin around a fortnight later than they would have otherwise – on May 13 – to allow learners to make up for time already lost when schools were closed at the end of the last academic year.

However, they will still only go ahead if public health guidance permits it and a contingency plan is being prepared for them.

There will be key check-points up to the February break to assess public health advice and, in light of that, the government’s plans.

What did the Scottish Government say?

Education Secretary John Swinney said: “Pupils have already lost a significant amount of learning time because of coronavirus.

“My priority is to ensure that learning is assessed fairly and consistently so that pupils can be confident in the results they gain.

“Given the real risk of further disruption to education, it would not be sensible or fair to plan for a full exam diet in 2021.

“Coronavirus has not gone away. If anything, it is making a comeback.”

Changes to the exam diet were based on Professor Mark Priestley’s review of the grading process for the 2020 exams, which saw the more than 124,000 teacher estimated grades moderated downwards by the SQA before these were revoked by the government.

Mr Swinney said: “We have learned lessons from this year’s initial SQA gradings – there will be no algorithm for moderating grades in 2021.”

National 5 exams cancelled to reduce the risk to Higher and Advanced Higher exams

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