News

National qualifications and assessments

Published: 31 Aug 2021 10:51
Part of:
Education

Views of renowned academic published.

Options for Scotland’s future approach to assessment and qualifications have been published.

Renowned Professor Gordon Stobart, who was appointed by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), considered approaches taken around the world as part of his work.  

Possible options include:

  • the development of a Senior Phase qualification system based on a combination of teacher assessment and exams 
  • the simplification of S4-5 assessment by “de-cluttering” the historical diet of exams
  • the increased use of online exam resources and oral presentations as an assessment format
  • the inclusion of pupils views in decisions around assessment
  • enhancing the role of vocational qualifications

These suggestions will be considered as part of a wider conversation with learners, teachers, parents and others on how Scotland’s qualifications and assessment system can best evolve in line with the curriculum and society of today.

Welcoming Professor Stobart’s suggestions, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said:

“The OECD have been crystal clear - Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) is the right approach for Scotland and is viewed internationally as an inspiring example of curriculum practice. Throughout the pandemic it delivered credible results for our children and young people in the face of exceptional circumstances.

“Our decision to cancel exams as a result of the pandemic rightly sparked a great deal of discussion about the best way to recognise learners’ achievements and how we continue to meet their needs. That is why we asked the OECD to undertake this vital work and I welcome this important contribution from Professor Stobart, which is informed by how other countries run an assessment process.

“Working with teachers, parents and young people as well as other stakeholders we will give full consideration to the options that Professor Stobart has outlined. This will form part of our work to ensure that every part of our education system is designed so that young people can demonstrate their full potential.

“I will update Parliament on how this work will be taken forward and on the on-going implementation of OECD recommendations on Curriculum for Excellence in due course.”

Background: 

OECD paper: Upper-secondary education student assessment in Scotland

The Scottish Government asked internationally renowned education experts at the OECD to consider potential changes to Scotland’s assessment and qualifications system.

Professor Stobart is an Honorary Research Fellow at the Oxford University, and was appointed by the OECD to undertake this work.

Following Results Day 2020, the OECD were asked to expand their review of the implementation of CfE to include a comparative analysis of assessment and qualifications approaches using international comparisons.