Following the Scottish school results scandal, Education Secretary John Swinney has today announced that all pupil grades that were downgraded through the exam moderation process have now been cancelled.
Immediately following the announcement of student results, several stakeholders in Scotland believed that moderation process was unfair. The scandal, which saw over 124,000 students have their results downgraded from their teachers' predictions, has led to several political parties calling for Swinney to be relieved of his duties as the head of education in Scotland.
Swinney faces a vote of no-confidence, put forward by the Scottish Labour Party. However today, the SNP assembly member issued an apology for the missteps made in the moderation process. He then went on to say that the original teacher-based estimates would be used for student grades instead.
“All downgraded awards will be withdrawn”
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) August 11, 2020
Swinney detailed his apology in the Scottish Parliament.
These are exceptional times, and in exceptional times truly difficult decisions are made. In speaking directly to the young people affected by the downgrading of awards – the seventy-five thousand pupils whose teacher estimates were higher than their final award - I want to say this: I am sorry.
I have listened and the message is clear. They don’t just want an apology, they want to see this fixed and that is exactly what I will now do. To resolve this issue all downgraded awards will be withdrawn. I am directing the SQA to re-issue those awards based solely on teacher or lecturer judgement.
We now accept that the risk of undermining the value of qualifications is outweighed by a concern that young people, particularly from working class backgrounds, may lose faith in education and form the view that no matter how hard you work, the system is against you. Education is the route out of poverty for young people in deprived communities and we cannot risk allowing that view to take hold.
Swinney's apology was also echoed by Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.
“We’re saying we didn’t get this right and I want to say again to young people that I’m sorry for that.
"This situation is not the fault of students and so it should not be on students to fix it, that’s on us."
It is just under a month before the Leaving Certificate results are released. With a process of calculated grades being used for students in Ireland, will we see a similar outcry?