Results for 150,000 students re-checked in exams farce

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Nearly three-quarters of a million exam results for Scottish pupils are to be checked after Scotland's Education Minister met representatives of the body responsible for issuing incomplete and mistaken certificates.

Nearly three-quarters of a million exam results for Scottish pupils are to be checked after Scotland's Education Minister met representatives of the body responsible for issuing incomplete and mistaken certificates.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) announced last night that it would run validation checks on all 147,000 candidates' Highers exam results in response to speculation that certificates have been issued inaccurately. Candidates take an average of five exams each. Last week, some were sent results for papers they never sat.

Priority will be given to pupils seeking university or college places but the checks will be made across all Highers candidates, said David Miller, the SQA chairman. "It is unlikely that any candidate's grades will be depressed as a result of this exercise," he said.

The announcement was accompanied by a statement from the SQA and the Scottish Minister of Education, Sam Galbraith, saying there was "no reason to assume" exam results awarded last week to most Scottish students might be flawed.

Yesterday, Mr Galbraith spent more than four hours with SQA chiefs and the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, following reports that some results sent out last week were inaccurate or incomplete. In their joint statement, they said the problem was not inaccurate results - there are a small number of errors made every year which students can query - but missing data which meant 1,400 students were sent incomplete results.

Under a system introduced this year, Highers certificates now represent a combination of coursework completed in school or college with final exams marked externally in the traditional way. Both must be matched to produce the final result. The SQA aims to complete by Thursday separate work to identify incomplete data so universities and colleges can confirm places to students the following day.

Mr Galbraith, on his way to the meeting at the SQA headquarters at Glasgow, rejected a call for him to resign by the Scottish National Party's education spokesman, Nicola Sturgeon. The SQA's chief executive, Ron Tuck, resigned on Saturday. Ms Sturgeon said the entire batch of examination papers would have to be re-marked and new certificates issued if errors were discovered in the validation process.

Asked if he would resign, Mr Galbraith said: "Absolutely not. I'm here to resolve this matter and I think that's the most appropriate thing to do, so I'll concentrate on that.

"We've known for quite some time that there were problems. We worked daily with the SQA in order to resolve these matters; we offered them unlimited resources. They were always confident that they would be able to resolve all these matters and gave us reassurances on these issues.

"The progress that was made was very good indeed and the big issue was incomplete data. It is after all, you must remember, an independent public body charged with carrying out these functions. We worked very closely with them as we have to and we offered them all the assistance necessary."

Comments