Mixed response from pupils as some bemoan downgraded exam results

Pupil receiving exam results
Pupil receiving exam results (PA Media)
15:04pm, Tue 04 Aug 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

Pupils across Scotland have reacted to receiving their exam results, with many missing out on the grades they had hoped for.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams body downgraded some submitted results despite no exams taking place and pass rates rising at every level.

Aiden from Falkirk was predicted to get three As and a B but was given a B and 3Cs and has been encouraged by his teachers to appeal.

The 17-year-old told the PA news agency: “I was very proud of the Scottish education system but after this I am really disappointed.

“In modern studies we are taught about how in America, if you attend a school in a more affluent area, you are more likely to get into university.

“And we all thought ‘that’s America’ and we’re led to believe that doesn’t happen in the UK or in Scotland but this has shown clear as day it happens here.”

He added: “If they look at schools and what they’ve attained in the past 15-20 years – I wasn’t born 20 years ago.

“I don’t know how they can give me a B in modern studies because someone in my area got a B in modern studies at a similar level years ago, I just don’t think that’s fair.”

The teenager said he felt pupils and teachers had been “left in the dark” about how exams had been marked and what the appeals process is.

He added he was told to approach his teachers about appealing against results – but said they do not know much more than pupils.

I don’t understand why the SQA are deciding our results when our teachers have a much better understanding of our work and progress

Lewis Nixon from Bishopbriggs, just outside Glasgow, is another pupil who raised questions over how the results were calculated.

The 16-year-old told PA: “I got As in history and modern studies; Bs in maths, English and PE; a C in chemistry, and a D in computing – this was despite getting a C in my computing prelim and an A in both my English and PE prelims.

“A lot of people in my school feel that they have also been marked unfairly, even though our school is usually up very high when it comes to nationwide exam grades.

“But I also know a lot of people who go to schools in more deprived areas who have been given terrible grades despite doing well through the school year.”

He added: “I don’t understand why the SQA are deciding our results when our teachers have a much better understanding of our work and progress.

“Even then, there is almost never a reason for moving someone down a grade from their predicted grade – it’s been a shambles.

“Our teachers have even been emailing us saying they’ve not got a clue what’s been going on.”

Benjamin, a 16-year-old from Edinburgh, said: “I got As in three of my subjects in all prelims coursework and practicals yet I got Bs.

“My friend who goes to private school and got Cs where I got As got As in his results, blatant favouritism and classism.

“I don’t think they are purposely favouring private schools but they have created a system that does.

“People who have been worse all round in tests have received better grades, the SQA have almost randomly chosen people to lower their grades.”

Parents have also reacted with criticism to the situation.

Imran Hayat told PA: “My son attended school at Leith Academy, Edinburgh, and is both autistic and ADHD, he has a twin brother who goes to the same school and also has ADHD.

“The same teachers who told us during parents’ evening that they are doing well and then submit those bad recommendations to SQA is unfair.

“Private school teachers are obviously going to recommend good grades, there’s a financial agenda behind that.

“Those schools are motivated by profit and have the best teachers on hand – privilege always opens doors whereas people from tough backgrounds the doors are always shut.

“We have to wait till schools open before they can explain themselves or before we can appeal. I feel prelims are like toilet paper – worthless.”

Schoolgirls (PA Media)

Others were happy with the grades they received on Tuesday morning.

Brooke Adam, an S5 pupil at Linwood High, was part of a group who opened their results live on TV.

The 16-year-old said: “I got six As and a B and I’m very happy with it.

“Next year I am doing five Highers and when I leave school I’d like to be either a paediatric doctor or a child’s nurse.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking because we didn’t sit exams so I didn’t have an idea of how I’d done so that was a bit weird.”

A 17-year-old pupil from St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, who has a rare autoimmune condition called myasthenia gravis, has celebrated gaining five As.

Zainab Alani from Newton Mearns said: “When I was diagnosed with the condition it was quite frightening and then as part of my management plan I had to go in for surgery.

“As soon as I was able I wanted to get back to school so that I could get some normality back in my life.

“Now I want to pursue a career in medicine to give back to all the amazing nurses and doctors who have cared for me throughout this difficult time.

“I’m so delighted that I’ve got the results now which will hopefully help me go in the direction that I want to.”

Sign up to our newsletter