The EIS has welcomed the upholding of teacher professional judgement in the Deputy First Minister’s statement in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon on SQA results. 

It also welcomed both the wide ranging review of Scotland’s assessment and awarding system as well as the short term inquiry into this year’s awards process to be led by Professor Mark Priestley.

Commenting on the announcement, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, "During lockdown, teachers were extremely diligent in making professional judgements on pupil estimates, based on a range of evidence, and even went the extra mile asked of them by the SQA in subdividing bandings and ranking pupil performance, despite concerns about the need for such."

"The EIS subsequently warned that overturning these estimates by means of statistical modelling on the part of the SQA would lead to an outcry – exactly as has happened."

He continued, "We urged the SQA to hold professional dialogue with centres where apparent anomalies were evident, but it refused to do so – preferring to focus instead on its own perceived profile as custodians of standards. Its standing amongst teachers is undoubtedly tarnished by its role in these matters."

"The SQA should be less accountable to the Scottish Government and more accountable to the teaching profession, parents and pupils. It needs to shed some of its hubris and listen more to teachers and their representatives."

Mr Flanagan added, "Whilst the immediate issue may now be resolved, there is a much bigger question to be asked about how our current high stakes assessment system regularly fails children through operating notional quotas for the awarding of As, Bs, and Cs which inevitably impact most on pupils on the cusp of achieving pass grades, the majority of whom are more likely to be from disadvantaged backgrounds. This needs to be addressed urgently through the announced review."

"The current planning for next year's exam diet on the basis of business as usual, seems woefully complacent. Scotland’s young people and their teachers must not suffer the same fiasco again."