Parents of pupils studying for Highers and Advanced Highers want the exams cancelled, fearing their children won’t get the grades they deserve.
A survey has found that almost three-quarters of parents and carers (74.04%) feel their child’s learning has been significantly disrupted by the pandemic.
More than half (56.74%) feel their child does not have a fair chance of achieving the Higher or Advanced Higher grades they should.
Half of those who responded (50.6%) to the survey by the National Parent Forum of Scotland survey want next year’s exam diet cancelled, and three-quarters (75.14%) want a decision to be made before Christmas.
National 5 exams have already been cancelled to allow schools to focus on Higher and Advanced exams which thousands of youngsters are due to sit in May.
However, teaching time has already been lost due to lockdown and thousands of pupils and teachers having to self-isolate.
The forum launched a survey of parents of pupils preparing for exams in response to concerns in the education sector about the delivery and equality of young people’s learning.
Varying levels of disruption of education were identified across Scotland.
It is evidently clear that parents and carers across the country believe the current Higher and Advanced Higher exam diet for 2021 simply cannot deliver a fair and equal opportunity for all students and that the professional judgement of teaching staff will again be required to support an alternative model of assessment.”
Barrie Shepherd, National Parent Forum of Scotland
Co-vice chair Barrie Sheppard said: “We know from our correspondence with parents and carers across the country that our young people are encountering difficult circumstances in their day to day learning, with self-isolation of both pupils and staff taking a massive toll on their health and wellbeing at this critical time in their lives.
“It is evidently clear that parents and carers across the country believe the current Higher and Advanced Higher exam diet for 2021 simply cannot deliver a fair and equal opportunity for all students and that the professional judgement of teaching staff will again be required to support an alternative model of assessment.”
Should the exams be cancelled, the forum said there was strong confidence in the judgement of teachers to predict grades for youngsters, with less than a fifth (17.04%) of respondents to the survey expressing little or no confidence in them.
Exams are due begin on May 13, a fortnight later than originally scheduled, but a contingency plan is to be developed in case they are called off, with a final decision due by February.
When last year’s exams were cancelled teachers’ estimates were provided, but there was outrage when more than 124,000 of these were moderated downwards by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
The Scottish Government said it remained its ambition for Higher and Advanced Higher exams to proceed if possible.
A spokeswoman said: “It must, however, be safe to do so and it must be fair to learners.
“We are monitoring the position closely and listening to all the different views on this matter, so we welcome this survey.
“The Deputy First Minister has been clear that the latest point at which a decision will be taken is the February break – which is more than three months before the exams are due to begin.
“He has also been clear that he will make a decision sooner if the evidence is pointing to that.
“Contingency plans are being drawn up to ensure fair and consistent awarding for Higher and Advanced Higher courses should exams not be possible.”