Reforming qualifications and assessment
New national qualifications to be developed.
Exams and national qualifications are to be reformed, the Education Secretary has confirmed.
Shirley-Anne Somerville said new qualifications will be developed to ensure learners’ achievements are fairly recognised. It is expected that externally marked exams will remain part of the new assessment approach.
Learners studying for national qualifications in spring next year will not be affected by any changes.
A wide range of views will be sought on the reforms, with young people and teachers informing how the new system will work.
The decision to make changes was influenced by:
- the recommendations in the OECD’s independent review of Scotland’s school curriculum
- renewed debate about assessment following the cancellation, due to COVID-19, of National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams in 2020 and 2021
- a paper by renowned academic Professor Gordon Stobart setting out options on Scotland’s future approach to assessment and qualifications
The Education Secretary made the announcement as she updated Parliament on plans to implement the 12 recommendations in the OECD’s review of Curriculum for Excellence. The OECD’s recommendations are being taken forward and will involve input from stakeholders including children and young people.
Ms Somerville said:
“It remains a key priority of this Government to ensure that our approaches to curriculum and assessment are fit for purpose and so guarantee the best possible educational experience for children and young people, not least as we emerge from the pandemic.
“I am convinced that given the experience and views expressed over the last two years, the time is right to signal that the Scottish Government supports reform of national qualifications and assessment.
“It will be vital when considering reform that we work with all those with an interest, to, as far as possible, build a consensus on this issue.
“We will consult on the purpose and principles which should underpin any reform of national qualifications and assessment. This will be the first step in a process which must be done with careful thought and consideration, recognising the importance of national qualifications to learners.”
A reference group, led by Professor Louise Hayward, Professor of Educational Assessment and Innovation at Glasgow University, will be set up to provide advice to Ministers on the reforms.
Professor Hayward said:
“Professor Stobart’s review offers Scottish education an opportunity to bring the vision for Curriculum for Excellence and practice in the senior phase into better alignment: to design a system that offers better life chances for every young person.
“In the senior phase, assessment and qualifications matter for all young people, their parents/carers, their teachers, to local authorities and regional improvement collaboratives, to colleges, universities and employers.
“Any change needs to be based on insights from each of those communities and grounded in evidence from research. Crucially, the voices of young people, so often peripheral to debates in the past, must be listened to and heard.”
Latest News from
First Minister meets Michelle O’Neill MLA20/05/2022 16:20:00
Meeting to discuss shared areas of interest has taken place at Bute House.
Encouraging manufacturing innovation20/05/2022 13:15:00
Fund will support ideas to reduce emissions and cut waste.
£3 million awarded to long COVID projects20/05/2022 12:15:00
Targeted support based on views of patients and clinicians.
Mesh reimbursement fund opens in June20/05/2022 10:05:00
A dedicated fund to repay mesh removal costs will open for applications on 6 June.
School uniform: have your say19/05/2022 15:05:00
Pupils, parents and carers are being asked to give their views on school uniform to help shape new national guidance.
“Significant achievement” in delivery of social security19/05/2022 13:05:00
More than £3.9 billion to benefit 1 million people in 2022-23
Child Disability Payment pays out more than £3m since launch18/05/2022 10:15:00
Payments made to over 3,000 children and young people across Scotland.