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Chamber and committees

Question reference: S6W-02185

  • Asked by: Kaukab Stewart, MSP for Glasgow Kelvin, Scottish National Party
  • Date lodged: 10 August 2021
  • Current status: Initiated by the Scottish Government. Answered by Shirley-Anne Somerville on 18 August 2021


To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on the assessment plans for National 5/Higher and Advanced Higher courses in the 2021-22 session.


I can confirm that the central planning assumption is that an examination diet for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will be held in session 2021-2022.

My decision has been informed by the views of stakeholders, including the National Qualifications Group, and by public health advice.

Assessment modifications across National courses for the next academic session have already been confirmed by the SQA. These modifications reduce the expected course content compared to a normal year, in recognition of the disruption learners have experienced. Fairness for learners sitting exams in 2022 is a central concern for me. We will set out details on further support available for learners in September.

I can also confirm that careful contingency planning has taken place to ensure there is sufficient flexibility to respond to two key scenarios that might be faced as a result of the pandemic. First, in circumstances were there was further significant disruption to learning and teaching, a further round of modifications would be introduced in order to ease assessment. Second, should public health conditions do not allow for the holding of an examination diet in Spring 2022, awarding would be made on teachers’ judgements based on normal in–year assessment.

These contingencies offer stability for teachers and learners in the coming academic session and will allow their focus to be on normal practices in teaching, learning and assessment. More detailed guidance will be issued by the SQA at the earliest opportunity.