Schools, early learning and children

Highers and Advanced Highers update (17 December)

With Higher and Advanced Higher exams cancelled for the 2020-21 session, the National Qualifications 2021 Group* has given more details on how Highers and Advanced Highers will be awarded.

Following the National 5 results model

This will broadly follow the model it recently announced for National 5 results, with teachers and lecturers using their professional judgement of learner evidence to determine a provisional result.

SQA support

To support this, SQA will provide teachers and lecturers with:
  • subject-specific guidance on gathering evidence
  • assessment resources, ie question papers and marking instructions, and where appropriate coursework assessment tasks 
  • Understanding Standards support materials

Quality of evidence

The focus remains on the quality of evidence, rather than the quantity. 

Formal assessments

Midlothian schools will be holding formal assessments as part of the process of gathering evidence to support teacher judgement. Specific details will be communicated by individual schools.
SQA is currently finalising the Higher and Advanced Higher question papers and marking instructions.
Teachers and lecturers will have the option to use the question papers as internal assessments for gathering learner evidence. Other types of evidence can also be used when producing learners’ provisional results.

Time to prepare

Learners will be given appropriate time to prepare for each subject to avoid them being overloaded with multiple assessments at any one time. Gathering and judging different types of key evidence from across the course, means that the provisional results submitted by teachers and lecturers are more likely to be a realistic reflection of a candidate’s attainment across the course.
*The National Qualifications 2021 Group is represented by the Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES), Colleges Scotland, Education Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), School Leaders Scotland (SLS), the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Scottish Government, National Parent Forum of Scotland, and the Scottish Youth Parliament.