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UK News Sturgeon defends SQA after exams pass rate reduction hits poorest pupils hardest

19:05  04 august  2020
19:05  04 august  2020 Source:   msn.com

Pass rates rise as Scottish pupils discover grades given to them after exams cancelled

  Pass rates rise as Scottish pupils discover grades given to them after exams cancelled Exam results have been published in Scotland, showing an increase in pass rates. © PA Pupils celebrate their exam results at Linwood High in Renfrewshire About 138,000 Scottish pupils have been finding out the results of their Nationals, Highers and Advanced Higher courses today after an exam-free year.This year's results are based on estimates from their teachers after exams across the UK were cancelled, as schools closed when the country went into lockdown in March because of the coronavirus pandemic.Results showed the National 5 pass rate was 81.1%, the Higher pass rate was 78.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Qualifications Authority ’s ( SQA ) over a moderation process that reduced the pass At National 5 level, the pass rate for the poorest pupils was 74% when teachers’ estimates would have led to an 84.5% pass rate without moderation.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Qualifications Authority ’s ( SQA ) over a moderation process that reduced the pass rate The First Minister said that without the moderation, a 19.8% increase of the pass rate among the poorest fifth of pupils would have been “unprecedented

Nicola Sturgeon wearing a suit and tie: Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA) © Jane Barlow Nicola Sturgeon (Jane Barlow/PA)

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has defended the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) over a moderation process that reduced the pass rate of the poorest Higher pupils by more than twice that of the richest.

She argued the system helped to maintain the “credibility” of results.

The pass rate of pupils in the most deprived data zones was reduced by 15.2% from teacher estimates after the exam board’s moderation.

Labour calls for ‘urgent reassurance’ over assessments in lieu of exam results

  Labour calls for ‘urgent reassurance’ over assessments in lieu of exam results In a letter to Gavin Williamson, shadow education secretary Kate Green warned this year’s system of assessment ‘risks creating winners and losers’.In a letter to Mr Williamson, shadow education secretary Kate Green warned this year’s system of assessment following the Covid-19 pandemic “risks creating winners and losers and some children in schools that have been improving are those who could lose out the most”.

Fiasco as Scottish government U-turn hands pupils the exam grades they were predicted by Sturgeon apologised after grades for 125,000 Scottish pupils marked down Scottish Tories push for full inquiry into fiasco by SNP government As a result of the changes announced by Mr Swinney this afternoon, the new Higher pass rate

The Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA ) released higher qualification results on Tuesday, equivalent SQA figures showed that it downgraded 124,564 pupils ' results despite no exams being sat After SQA moderation, the National 5 pass rate was 81.1 percent, the Higher pass rate was

In contrast, the pass rate for pupils from the most affluent backgrounds dropped by 6.9%.

The First Minister said that without the moderation, a 19.8% increase of the pass rate among the poorest fifth of pupils would have been “unprecedented and therefore not credible”.

At National 5 level, the pass rate for the poorest pupils was 74% when teachers’ estimates would have led to an 84.5% pass rate without moderation.

For the least deprived, the 92.3% estimated pass rate fell to 87.1% after the SQA’s moderation.

In Scotland’s first school year without exams due to coronavirus, more than a quarter (26.2%) of grades were changed during moderation by the SQA – a total of 133,762 – while 377,308 entries were accepted unchanged.

The exam board’s criteria for moderation included the historic performance of of schools and grades were adjusted “where a centre’s estimates were outside the constraint range for that course”, according to the SQA chief examining officer Fiona Robertson

‘Get it fixed or go’ – Former FM in stark exams warning to Sturgeon and Swinney

  ‘Get it fixed or go’ – Former FM in stark exams warning to Sturgeon and Swinney Lord McConnell said the fiasco which saw 124,564 pupils’ results downgraded is ‘not good enough for Scotland’.Lord McConnell said the fiasco which saw 124,564 pupils’ results downgraded is “not good enough for Scotland”.

Scotland's exams agency has defended this year's biology exams after pupils claimed they were too difficult. A petition criticising the papers and calling for a lower pass mark has reached almost 5,000 signatures. The Scottish Qualifications Authority ( SQA ) said the National 5 and Higher exams

Poorest pupils Higher pass rate reduced by 15.2% between teacher estimate and statistical moderation. The Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer meanwhile has hit out at the SQA for the "disturbing and grossly unequal" results of its grading system, calling for the exams

New schools without previous exam results were unchanged.

Despite the downgrading 124,564 pupils’ results – 93.1% of all the moderated grades – exam pass rates rose at every level and would have been the highest on record without the SQA downgrading some submitted results, Education Secretary John Swinney said.

Asked about the SQA’s figures showing deprived children being affected more by the downgrading of results, Ms Sturgeon said: “What we want to make sure is that this year’s results have the degree of credibility that means that they are not so out of sync with previous years that people are going to look at them and say ‘they don’t make any sense’.

Mixed emotions among pupils as schools return begins in Scotland

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Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP needs to "focus on what matters to people" ahead of next year's election and put aside internal disputes. The first minister was speaking after a number of public rows about her party's policies and strategies.

Nicola Sturgeon has been accused of “shameful complacency” over the state of the Scottish education system after Higher pass rates dropped for Higher pass rates dropped to 74.8 per cent, a fall of two points compared to the previous year and a decline of 4.4 points compared to 2015 when new exams

“As much as I would love to be in the position of standing here credibly saying that 85% of the 20% in the most deprived areas had passed Higher, given that it was 65% last year, that would raise a real credibility issue.”

She added: “Anybody who has a result, has passed a Higher or a National 5 today, can hold their head up for having a credible exam result, albeit without the actual exam.

“That’s why the methodology in the moderation system is important in order to do that so that people don’t look at incredible inflation and pass rates and say the whole system wasn’t in some way credible.”

Mr Swinney stressed that approximately 90% of moderation “involved a change of just one grade”.

He added: “We’ve maintained the overwhelming majority of estimates that have been put forward by teachers and the changes that have been made are essentially those fine-grained judgments that are required to be made on an annual basis.”

A-level students can use grades in mock exams to progress to degree courses

  A-level students can use grades in mock exams to progress to degree courses The latest plan for school leavers affected by lockdown has created still more controversy.Results in mock tests – which were held before schools were forced to close amid the Covid-19 crisis – will carry the same weight as the calculated results to be awarded this month, Gavin Williamson said.

He pointed out that the performance gap between the least and most deprived young people has narrowed compared with 2019.

“That demonstrates that, inherently, this system has been fair to all learners,” he said.

He added pupils can challenge their results for free this year, adding: “I would encourage them to consider that evidence and to come forward”.

Labour’s shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said the First Minister “effectively said the moderation system should maintain the shameful attainment gap that already exists”.

And writing on Twitter, he added that using previous results from schools to decide grades “embeds disadvantage & the ridiculous league tables that has artificially hampered schools in more deprived areas”.

“It’s certainly not the “opportunity for all” & “education being the number one priority for the FM” she repeatedly promised,” he said.

SNP MP Mhairi Black tweeted her congratulations to pupils and said: “There is a massive caveat to this years results, however, and that is the changing of grades by the SQA.

“I am deeply concerned by the information released today, which shows students from deprived areas saw their results reduced from their predicted grades at a higher rate than those from wealthier areas.

“The Scottish Government must address this.”

An SQA spokesman said: “The most disadvantaged young people have achieved better results in 2020 compared to both 2019 and the average results for the last four years.

“At Grades A to C, the attainment gap between the most and least disadvantaged young people is also narrower this year for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher than for last year or the average gap for the last four years.”

Sturgeon defends ‘honourable’ Swinney amid calls for resignation .
Scotland’s Education Secretary is facing a vote of no confidence and calls to resign over the exam results ‘catastrophe’.Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said the backlash and subsequent u-turn over this year’s results was “just the latest catastrophe in Mr Swinney’s tenure in education”.

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