SQA appeals 2020: how to appeal your National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher exam results in Scotland

Pupils’ final grades have been awarded based on teacher estimates this year, after the coronavirus outbreak forced exams to be cancelled

Thousands of pupils will be celebrating across Scotland today after receiving the results of their Higher and National 5 exams.

This year, pupils’ final grades were determined by teacher estimates after the coronavirus outbreak forced Highers, Advanced Highers and National 5 exams to be cancelled for the first time ever.

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Instead, the grading system was built around preliminary exam results and course work that has already been submitted.

Appeals can be made if pupils have been awarded a grade lower than estimatedAppeals can be made if pupils have been awarded a grade lower than estimated
Appeals can be made if pupils have been awarded a grade lower than estimated

Pupils who did not receive the grade they had been expecting can submit an appeal to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Here’s how the appeals process works.

How can I appeal my grade?

If you did not receive the results that you needed or were expecting, you should contact your school or college, as only they are able to submit an appeal.

Schools or colleges can only appeal if the grade a pupil has been awarded is lower than the estimated grade their teacher sent to the SQA.

Priority in the appeals process will be given to requests from pupils who are depending on the results they receive to secure a conditional place at college or university.

Before submitting a request, the following must apply to the pupil in question:

- The pupil has been awarded a lower grade than their estimate

- There is evidence to support the estimated grade, such as classwork, preliminary exam results, past papers and class tests

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- Schools or colleges have the pupil’s consent to submit an appeal

When submitting an appeal, schools or colleges should include a rationale for their decision-making for each pupil, which highlights the evidence validating their estimated grade.

Requests must be signed-off by the headteacher, principal, or their representative, before being submitted to the SQA.

When can appeals be submitted?

The appeals service opens on 4 August 2020.

For those wishing to confirm a college or university place, appeals must be submitted by 14 August, and all other appeals should be submitted by 21 August.

What is the outcome of appeals?

Once an appeal has been submitted, the SQA will assess and review the evidence.

After which, one of three possible outcomes will be decided:

- a higher grade will be awarded. If the result is for a college or university place, the SQA will advise the school or college, the higher education institute and UCAS

- no change will be made to the grade

- a lower grade will be awarded. This is rare and the SQA would discuss the decision with the school or college

When will appeal results be announced?

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Results of an appeal will be emailed to the school or college.

Those who have a priority review, such as those awaiting a conditional place at college or university, will receive the results on 4 September. The results will also be sent to the university or college.

A date has yet to be confirmed for post-certification reviews. Revised certificates will be posted to candidates at a later date and MySQA updated.

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