National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams will be held in spring 2022 if public health advice allows.
The SNP Government’s decision has been informed by public health advice and by the views of partners, including those on the National Qualifications Group, which includes representatives of young people, parents, teachers and other education professionals.
Course content has been reduced compared to a normal year to take account of the disruption to learning that young people have experienced. These modifications have already been confirmed by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
Due to uncertainty over the pandemic, two contingency plans will be in place:
If there is further significant disruption to learning as a result of COVID-19, but it is still safe for exams to go ahead, there will be further modifications to courses and assessment.
If public health conditions do not allow for an exam diet to take place, awards will be made on teachers’ judgements based on normal in–year assessment.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP said:
“Fairness for learners sitting exams in 2022 is at the heart of our plans. Assessment modifications across national courses for the next academic session have already been confirmed by the SQA in recognition of the disruption to learning that young people have experienced.
“We will set out details on further support available for learners in September.”
Kenneth Gibson MSP commented:
“I am pleased that, after listening carefully to educators, parents and young people, the Education Secretary has come to a clear and workable decision.
“This clarity will be welcomed by pupils and teachers across North Ayrshire and Scotland.”
“The past two academic years have been extremely challenging for teachers and pupils, in particular due to the insecurities lockdown brought with it. Now that COVID has settled down, there finally is an opportunity to commit to holding exams as we used to.
“I wish all pupils across North Ayrshire every success this year as they go back to a sense of normality.”
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has modified course assessment requirements for each National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher course. This will reduce the volume of assessment, which will allow for any lost learning caused by the pandemic. It will also ease teacher, lecturer and learner workload, while still maintaining the credibility of the qualifications. For most courses, these are the same modifications that were put in place for session 2020/21.
The SQA has published modification summary documents that provide more detail on these modifications and explain the assessment requirements for this year.