We welcome the SQA statement and the clarification it gives to teaching staff and non-advanced students in the college sector.
We understand that further guidance will follow on HNC/D, PDA and SVQ qualifications and would expect the SQA to apply the same principles to these learners.
We have taken a clear stance from the start of the crisis that under these circumstances staff and learners must work to the principle of WHAT they can do, WHEN they can do it, IF they can do it.
Staff and learners alike are affected by the COVID-19 crisis, but the impact is greatest on those who were already vulnerable – students with caring responsibilities, in precarious employment, living in poverty and without the technological equipment, broadband and skills to engage in online learning.
We welcome the position adopted by SQA in relation to N5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications where these are delivered in colleges.
Our understanding from the statement is that NC, NQ and other students on non-advanced programmes comprising stand-alone units up to SCQF level 7 will not be required to submit further assessment evidence and that decisions will now be made on the basis of our professional judgement as lecturers.
We believe a clear, national cut-off date should be applied to assessment work to ensure parity for all learners. Our preference would be that this be from the date on which the first college closed (17 March) but it cannot be any later than 2 April 2020, when the SQA statement was issued, and learners who have been unable to participate in learning following the college closures must not be penalised.
We would urge a collaborative approach to such decision making to ensure that all lecturers who have taught a student contribute to decisions around group awards and progression, while respecting the professional judgement of subject specialists on unit outcomes.
We would further request clarification that only assessment work gathered prior to college closures will be subject to internal and external verification and that as per advice to schools, there is no expectation upon staff or learners to generate additional evidence at this stage.
We remain committed to supporting our learners through this crisis and where possible in continuing to provide learning opportunities for those who can participate, but without further assessment requirements – WHAT we can do, WHEN we can do it, IF we can do it.