Education - qualifications and assessment review: consultation

We are consulting on the options for change as part of Professor Hayward's independent review of the future of qualifications and assessment. We are inviting responses to this consultation by 16 December 2022.

1. Review of the future of Qualifications and Assessment: Consultation on Options for Change.

1.1 Why is there a need for an Independent Review?

Recognising the need to look to the future, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced in October 2021 the intention to reform qualifications and assessments. This reform process will seek to ensure that all learners’ achievements are fairly recognised to afford every learner an enhanced and fair opportunity to demonstrate the breath breadth, depth and relevance of their learning. The review covers English Medium and Gaelic Medium Education.

This was influenced by:

The Review’s Terms of Reference are available.

The Review is independent from the Scottish Government, local authorities and other public bodies. Emerita Professor Louise Hayward will provide recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary in March 2023.

1.2 Who is involved in the Review?

We have designed the Review to provide opportunities to all those who are interested in the future of Qualifications and Assessment. We want to ensure that our recommendations make the most of the opportunities open to us to transform the way we approach qualifications and assessments. To do this we need to engage and listen to as many people as possible. This consultation is part of that process. It will promote extensive engagement with the public alongside continued widespread engagement with learners, schools, and colleges.

The Review is being led by Professor Hayward supported by an Independent Review Group (IRG) comprising of:

  • those for whom qualifications matter most (learners and parents/carers),
  • designers, developers and those who offer qualifications (extended profession and policy) and
  • those who use qualifications (colleges, employers, universities, voluntary sectors).

You can see the members of the Independent Review Group which meets monthly.

The Independent Review Group works with 13 Collaborative Community Groups (CCGs). These CCGs act as a link to a wide range of communities and will ensure an inclusive and participatory approach which recognises and embraces the diversity of Scotland’s learners and communities. These groups specifically seek to involve people whose voices are seldom heard in policy discussions.

1.3 What is the Review doing?

The Review will progress through three phases. We are currently in Phase Two.

Phase One: Engagement on Vision and Principles

The first phase invited feedback on a draft Vision and Principles statement. These draft statements were first developed with colleagues from the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children’s Parliament. Phase One received 260 responses from schools and colleges alongside detailed comments from Collaborative Community Groups.

The feedback received during Phase One is being analysed by an independent researcher. The Review has however been able to develop the draft Vision and Principles and the current version follows below. This will be developed further in the coming months before being finalised at the end of the year.

Following an analysis of views expressed in relation to the Vision it has been redrafted and is currently as follows.

Qualifications and awards in Scotland should:

  • reflect the broad curriculum
  • recognise every learner’s achievements, and
  • provide evidence to inform the next steps in their learning journey.

Following an analysis of views expressed in relation to the Principles have been redrafted and are currently as follows.

Scotland’s qualifications system should:

  • reflect the aspirations of the curriculum and be responsive to the changing needs of individual learners and Scotland locally and as part of global society.
  • recognise the achievements of every learner.
  • be clear, coherent and understood by all, as part of a lifelong learning journey.
  • be inclusive both in design and development.
  • support flexible approaches to assessment.

We are now in Phase Two of the process. This phase seeks to consult on proposals for potential Options on the future of Qualifications and Assessment.

The Review is:

  • exploring different Options for the future of Qualifications and Assessment
  • continuing to work closely with our IRG and CCG members and encouraging responses from every school and college in Scotland and
  • asking for views on different ways that the Vision and Principles might be put into practice

The evidence from responses to this phase will be independently analysed and used to identify a preferred proposal.

Phase Three. In January 2023, the third phase of the Review will begin and we will seek views primarily through the CCGs and schools and colleges on the preferred proposal for the future of Qualifications and Assessment. In this phase the focus will be concerned with practical implications.

Following completion of the three phases we will produce a final report and recommendations which will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in March 2023.

1.4 What is the Relationship between the Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment and the National Discussion?

Arising from recommendations in the Muir Report (2022), Putting Learners at the Centre, the National Discussion is focused on gathering views from the public on a future vision for Scottish Education. Our Review, on the future of Qualification and Assessment, is focussed on the review of qualifications and assessment in the senior phase. Whilst there are close links and regular communication with colleagues in the National Discussion our Review is independent of Scottish Government. The National Discussion is being jointly led by Scottish Government and COSLA. The Independent Review will also report after the National Discussion allowing time to consider the findings from that piece of work before reporting to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills by the end of March 2023. You can find out more information about the National Discussion.

1.5 Responding to this Consultation

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 16 December 2022. It is important to note that in responding there is no need to provide an answer to every question in this document. It may be that some areas of the consultation are of more interest to you or your organisation than others and the Review is grateful for any views you may wish to share.

Please respond to this consultation using the Scottish Government’s consultation hub, Citizen Space ( Access and respond to this consultation online at You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date of 16 December.

If you are unable to respond using our consultation hub, please complete the Respondent Information Form to:

Secretariat: Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment
Scottish Government
2B North
Victoria Quay

1.6 Next steps in the process

Where respondents have given permission for their response to be made public, and after we have checked that they contain no potentially defamatory material, responses will be made available to the public at If you use the consultation hub to respond, you will receive a copy of your response via email.

Following the closing date, all responses will be analysed and considered along with any other available evidence to help us. Responses will be published where we have been given permission to do so. An analysis report will also be made available.

1.7 Comments and complaints

If you have any comments about how this consultation exercise has been conducted, please send them to the contact address above or email

1.8 Scottish Government consultation process

This is a consultation on behalf of the Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment that is being hosted by the Scottish Government. Consultation is an essential part of the policymaking process. It gives the Review an important opportunity to consider your opinion and expertise on a proposed area of work.

You can find all our consultations online: Each consultation details the issues under consideration, as well as a way for you to give us your views, either online, by email or by post.

Responses will be analysed and used as part of the decision making process, along with a range of other available information and evidence. We will publish a report of this analysis for every consultation. While details of particular circumstances described in a response to a consultation exercise may usefully to inform the policy process, consultation exercises cannot address individual concerns and comments, which should be directed to the relevant public body.

Considering Options: What information should be gathered on learners’ progress and achievements. For the purposes of its overall package of work and this consultation the Review takes a broad definition of ‘learners’. A new approach to qualifications and assessment must benefit individuals no matter who they are or where their learning takes place.



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