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Scotland ‘exam’ results 2021: When they arrive and how to appeal

Certificates will arrive by post on Tuesday.

Scotland’s ‘exam’ results will drop through letterboxes, land in email baskets and ping in by text message on Tuesday.

Unlike other years, however, pupils will not be on tenterhooks waiting to learn how they have done, as they already know their provisional grades.

And with exams cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, they’re not exam results as such but grades awarded based on assessments in school.

Pupils taking National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers were informed of their provisional marks before the holidays.

However, Tuesday morning will bring confirmation and processing of appeals from those unhappy with their results will begin.

How will pupils learn their final grades?

National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher candidates across Scotland should receive their SQA ‘exam’ results certificates by post.

They can also choose to receive results from 8am by text and/or email by registering with MySQA.

Those who don’t receive their results are advised to contact their school or college immediately.

Universities and colleges will also be informed of the results of young people who applied to their courses through UCAS.

How have grades been awarded?

When exams were called off by the Scottish Government, what is known as the alternative certification model was developed by the National Qualifications 2021 Group, which comprises representatives from across the education system.

Teachers have determined pupils’ results based on assessments conducted in school, and their grades have been submitted to the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

At a local level the SQA’s quality assurance process is aimed at ensuring results are consistent and fair across the whole of Scotland.

It has looked at examples of assessment evidence provided by schools to ensure an A grade in one part of the country is the same as an A grade elsewhere.

Will grades be altered?

Last year, the SQA was heavily criticised for moderating tens of thousands of grades awarded by teachers downwards.

Exams recap: Why were pupils’ results downgraded and will exams go ahead in 2021?

This year the SQA has promised provisional results will not be changed but it will be checking for administrative errors.

How and when can grades be appealed?

This year the appeals service is free and pupils wanting to challenge provisional results were able to register directly with the SQA from June 25 and can do so until Thursday.

Appeals will be processed from Tuesday and those where a university or college place, employment or training is dependent on the outcome will be prioritised.

If pupils decide they want to appeal after Thursday, teachers can submit priority appeals for them until August 24 or non-priority appeals until August 27.

Appeals must be based on grounds of academic judgement, an unresolved administrative error or discrimination and they can result in grades going up, down or staying the same.

There is concern that absence of a ‘no detriment’ policy – which would protect against the risk of being downgraded – could put some pupils off appealing.

The SQA will inform schools of the outcome and schools will inform pupils.

Priority appeals will, the SQA says, be processed by September 8 and others as soon as possible after.

Angus MSYP: Pupils feel ignored by SQA exam appeals which could see grades reduced

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