SQA deadline for Scottish grades appeal pushed back by a week

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has pushed back its final deadline for pupils to appeal grades by a week to allow school staff to return after the summer break.

The SQA which co-ordinates exams in Scottish schools, said the deadline for schools to put in final appeals for pupils awarded grades, which are crucial to their university admittance, would be delayed from August 16 to 24 – a week after the new term starts in most areas of the country.

However, some council areas have warned pupils they need to submit their intention to appeal grades before the summer term finishes in two weeks, shortly after they are informally told their grades. Young people are this year allowed to submit appeals themselves, up until August 11. Any appeals submitted after that must be done by their school.

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Exams in Scotland have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, they have been replaced by “alternative assessments”, which pupils and teachers have criticised as being akin to exams.

Pupils have until August 24 to appeal grades. Picture: PA
Pupils have until August 24 to appeal grades. Picture: PA

Last year, the Scottish Government was forced to make a U-turn after thousands of pupils saw their grades downgraded using a algorithm that appeared to disadvantage those in disadvantaged areas.

Fife Council said students should speak to teachers before the current term ends if they planned to appeal, amid fears their grades could be lowered, rather than raised.

A spokesman for Fife Council said: "Your child needs to make sure they speak to their school to discuss any concerns about their provisional results before the schools finish for the summer break on June 24 and they will explain the appeals process. It is very important that young people speak with staff before making an appeal as results can go down, stay the same or go up.

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“If your child(ren) appeal, their school will need to send the evidence they used to generate their provisional grade to the SQA. It is therefore important that the school knows if a young person has appealed.”

The spokesman said the SQA had extended the appeals deadline from August 16 to 24.

He said: "The date initially set for priority appeals by SQA was a date before Fife schools returned from the summer holiday. This was changed today by SQA to allow schools to submit appeals on behalf of young people up until August 24.

“An additional letter will be sent out to update learners and parents/carers of this change. Appeals can go up, down or stay the same, so it is important that young people speak with teachers to make sure they know this.”

He added: “Provisional results are based on demonstrated attainment, therefore teachers will have reviewed the evidence they hold for a young person before deciding on a provisional result.”

A spokesman for the SQA said: “SQA has extended the deadline to August 24 for schools and colleges to submit priority appeals on behalf of candidates.

“The extension ensures there is sufficient time after the start of the new academic year for schools and colleges to submit the required evidence, without interfering with the summer holiday. It also provides learners with more time to decide whether or not they wish to appeal.”

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