Publication - FOI/EIR release

Understanding teacher estimates for grading pupils receiving qualifications in 2020: FOI release

Published: 2 Mar 2021

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Published:
2 Mar 2021
Understanding teacher estimates for grading pupils receiving qualifications in 2020: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000117808
Date received: 1 Dec 2020
Date responded: 16 Feb 2021
Information requested

In relation to teacher estimates to grade pupils receiving qualifications in 2020, you asked:

  • what work has been done/activities been undertaken to better understand why teacher estimates were so much higher than historic attainment

  • please provide me with any written information exploring this issue – including, but not exclusive to, emails, briefings and reports

Response

The Deputy First Minster announced on 11 August that any learner grades which had been moderated by SQA, and had seen a fall in grade against their teacher estimates as a result, would have that change reversed. This decision was taken in the context of exceptional circumstances and to address concerns raised that the efforts of some learners had not been accurately rewarded.

Swift action was taken to commission an independent review by Professor Priestley of the approach to awarding last year. The Government has subsequently accepted the majority of the recommendations and is working with partners to implement them.

Equality impact assessments and Children’s rights and wellbeing impact assessments were conducted for both the original and the revised sets of results. These documents are publically available and set out the impact of each on different groups of protected characteristics.

Many stakeholders asked for teacher and lecturer judgement to be trusted, and that is what the final set of results does. Teacher judgement remains at the centre of the approach to certification this year following the necessary cancellation of exams.

A copy of the information requested is attached.

Enclosure 2 is from a draft of the Rapid Review of National Qualifications Experience 2020 report sent by Professor Mark Priestley to Malcolm Pentland (Deputy Director, Curriculum, Qualifications and Gaelic) on 25 September 2020 and shared with Graeme Logan (Director of Learning) the same day. It was sent to the Deputy First Minister by Malcolm Pentland on 28 September 2020, copied to Graeme Logan, Paul Johnston (Director General Education, Communities and Justice), Gayle Gorman (HM Chief Inspector of Education) and Colin McCallister (Special Adviser).

Enclosure 3 is an extract from SQA’s proposed factual corrections to the draft Rapid Review of National Qualifications Experience 2020 report sent by Malcolm Pentland to Mark Priestley on 30 September 2020.

While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance we are unable to provide some of the information you have requested because an exemption under section 25(1) (information publicly available) or 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA applies to that information.

An exemption under section 25(1) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. This is because the information is already available in the public domain and can be found at:

This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

On the date your request was received, 01 December 2020, some information was due to be published on 23 December 2020 and was therefore due to be withheld under section 27(1). However, I wish to confirm that at the time of providing your response, this information has indeed now been published and is accessible via https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-equality-impact-assessment-2020-results-using-teacher-lecturer-estimates/ therefore, is now exempt under section 25(1) – publicly accessible

An exemption under section 38(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested because it is personal data of a third party, i.e. names and contact details of individuals, and disclosing it would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018.

This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption.

You may also find it helpful to view some other information which is publicly available:

Rapid Review of National Qualifications experience 2020 - https://www.gov.scot/groups/rapid-review-of-national-qualifications-experience-2020/
Scottish Government response to the Rapid Review - https://www.gov.scot/publications/rapid-review-of-national-qualifications-experience-2020-our-response/
SQA methodology report - SQAAwardingMethodology2020Report.pdf
Information released under a previous FOI request - https://www.gov.scot/publications/foi-202000090265/

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG