A guide to help you understand how the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will make decisions about your results in 2021.

How will SQA be grading Nat 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers?

There are no formal exams this year. Instead, in 2021 your SQA results will be based on assessments given to the SQA by your school. Your teachers will work out your grades by looking at the work you’ve done, your progress and your knowledge of the subject.

They will then use this to give you a grade. The SQA have provided schools with guidance about how to assess pupils, and senior teachers will check that the grades given are fair and based on evidence of learning and skills.

If I have additional support needs, will my assessment take that into account?

Yes, if you have got additional support needs then your teacher should take this into account when they give you your grades.

If you’re sitting any assessments at school, you should have the support and adjustments you would normally have if you were sitting exams.

Will there be any exams this year?

There will be no final exams for Nat 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers in 2021. You will still have things like tests, prelims and mock exams as these will help your teachers with their assessments and which will give you your results.

How will results be appealed this year?

In 2021, pupils will be able to appeal their results directly, which didn’t happen in 2020. This means you do not need to ask your school to make an appeal on your behalf. Making an appeal is also free of charge. However, if you do appeal, your grades can go up or down.

Pupils need to register for appeals between 25 June and 12 August. If you miss the deadline, teachers can appeal on your behalf until 24 August for priority appeals (if you are waiting on results to secure a place at college or university), or 27 August for all other appeals.

Can I get help to make an appeal?

Yes. If you are unhappy with your results you can ask a teacher, parent or carer to help you register on the SQA website.

SQA Appeals 2021 - Key Dates. By 25 June you should have received your provisional results. Also by 25 June, schools will have sent those results to the SQA who will check they have all the information required and produce certificates. From 25 June - 12 August you can register that you want to appeal. You can do this yourself or with the help of your parents - you do not need to ask your school to make an appeal for you. You must use the ‘Register to appeal’ form on the SQA website (https://www.sqa.org.uk/sqa/98202.html). On 10 August you will receive your results certificate, this is when the appeal process will start. If you decide you want to appeal after 12 August, you can do this by asking your teacher to send an appeal to SQA for you. They will be able to do this until 24 August for priority appeals and until 27 August for all other appeals. Once your appeal has been completed, SQA will tell your school. If you have a priority appeal, it will be processed by 8 September.

What if I miss the appeal deadline?

If you did not register with SQA over the summer, you can still register that you want to appeal with SQA until 12 August. Your teacher will need to help you with this as they can submit an appeal to SQA for you.

They will be able to do this until 16 August for priority appeals and 27 August for all other appeals.

Feeling worried?

You might feel anxious or upset about these changes and how they will impact you but you are not alone. For example, members of the Inclusion Ambassadors network have shared the challenges they faced when home learning and their worries about how that may affect their ability to engage with exams and assessments.

Speak to someone at your school that you trust if you have worries or if you feel you need extra support with your learning.

Remember, your grades don’t define you. Whatever they are, you do have options for your future. Lots of people in interesting jobs have not taken a straight or obvious path to get there. There’s no wrong path.

Your school can support you and guide you on the next best steps forward after you leave school. There are also organisations who are there for you to help you figure out your next steps after leaving school.

You can get answers to lots of other questions you might have about your grades from SQA here.

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Young Scot have got lots of good advice about exams too.