Teachers have been given additional time to submit grades for pupils whose exams have been cancelled.
They have an extra three weeks to get provisional marks to the Scottish Qualifications Authority before it issues results in August for National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers.
The deadline was shifted from May 28 to June 18 due to the move to remote learning this term, which will continue until at least mid-February.
January tests hit
Many schools had planned to hold prelims or test diets during January to gather assessment evidence for the SQA.
However, these were cancelled or postponed when the decision was made that only children of key workers and vulnerable children would return to school after the Christmas holiday.
A Fife teaching union representative welcomed the extension, but said more needed to be done to reassure students worried about their education and qualifications.
David Farmer, of the EIS’s kingdom branch, said: “The delay is a sensible and helpful thing for them to do but in terms of the nitty gritty of what they are looking for that might change, it might not.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if there are changes to what evidence is required.”
Teachers and pupils will “certainly be under greater time pressure” as a result of schools being closed to most, he said.
But he added: “Much of what teachers would want to have done could be achieved if there are no further lockdown or further unpredictable disruptions to education.”
He rejected descriptions of youngsters whose education has been affected by Covid-19 as a ‘lost generation’.
Much of what teachers would want to have done could be achieved if there are no further lockdown or further unpredictable disruptions to education.”
David Farmer, EIS Fife
However, he said young people had lost trust, not in teachers or schools, but in the system and that those in power must restore that.
He said: “They need to be thinking very hard about how we reassure these kids.
“How do we get them back in class? And once they are there we have to reassure them that they are fine, we are going to support them and do everything we can to make their experience as close as it can be to what it would have been like in 2019 before the pandemic.”
SQA certification changes
The SQA said that changes to the timeline for its alternative certification model were made in response to the First Minister’s confirmation on January 19 that remote learning would continue until at least mid-February.
It said: “This includes moving the final date for schools and colleges to submit provisional grades from Friday 28 May 2021 to Friday 18 June 2021.
“During the period of remote learning the group is clear that maximising learning and teaching remains the current priority for schools and colleges.
Latest from the National Qualifications 2021 Group – The date for schools and colleges to submit provisional grades to SQA for this year's N5, Higher, and Advanced Higher courses has been moved from Friday 28 May, to Friday 18 June – futher details here https://t.co/SphwkCvI2b pic.twitter.com/LBARa4mBxb
— SQA (@sqanews) January 27, 2021
“Assessment cannot be undertaken unless young people understand the foundations of their course content and have had time to consolidate their learning once they return to school.
“Overall assessment of learner attainment should therefore take place later in the 2020-21 session.”
It added: “The National Qualifications 2021 Group knows that the current health situation is proving to be extremely challenging and that teachers, lecturers, parents, carers and learners have questions they would like answered.
“All partners are working as quickly as possible in an evolving situation and will continue to issue regular updates on the next steps.
“The National Qualifications 2021 Group knows that the current health situation is proving to be extremely challenging…”
National Qualifications 2021 Group knows that the current health situation is proving to be extremely challenging…”
Scottish Qualifications Authority
“These will be dependent upon the length of time that remote learning is in place for public health reasons.”
The SQA has begun publishing subject specific guidance for teachers charged with submitting provisional grades.
It said some of its quality assurance activity will be delayed, and a fully revised timetable would be published as soon as it was finalised.
An update on remote learning is expected from the Scottish Government on Tuesday.
It is anticipated that pupils may return on a phased basis when it is deemed safe for them to do so.