The National Review Group on Qualifications and Assessment meets again next week. In advance of that meeting the EIS has formulated a proposal, around Nat 5 and Nat 6, to address the concerns of members on workload and over-assessment.

In essence we are seeking agreement from Scottish Government, the SQA and others, on the following:

  •  That the SQA migrates to the external exam or coursework, those elements of unit assessment which it perceives as integral to integrity of the qualification. Thereafter, unit assessment at Nat 5 and 6 would not be required for the achievement of a graded award.

  • That in the subsequent arrangements the following should apply - on achievement of a graded award through the external assessment, successful candidates would be awarded the subsumed unit qualifications for that course. (The importance of unit accreditation being subsumed within the graded award is to prevent unnecessary presentation for unit awards with the sole purpose of improving tariff scores.)

  • That the current unit qualifications remain as potentially accredited individual awards, without the external course grade, to maintain and support flexibility in meeting the learning needs of different groups of learners e.g. returning adults in FE.

Implementation of these changes would mean that schools would still be free to use the current units as course organisers (and, indeed, to use existing unit assessments as formative or summative classroom assessments) – minimising any further changes to course content or structures.

These changes would also bring about significant reduction with regards to the workload generated by SQA verification and the associated internal auditing approaches to assessment and recording.

A "red-line” for the union is that the SQA would need to be instructed to introduce these changes for Session 2017/18.

Whilst a number of other issues would remain to be discussed and resolved within the working group, the EIS believes that a resolution of these issues is more feasible if the workload concerns around unit assessments are addressed in the first instance.

Future updates on discussions will be issued.

Yours sincerely,

Larry Flanagan
EIS General Secretary