SQA results 2020/21

An image of a young person in front of the text "No young person should be disadvantaged because they were assessed during a global pandemic."

The decision to cancel all 2020’s exams due to the coronavirus pandemic has had an enormous impact on young people’s rights in Scotland, as have decisions around assessment of children and young people in 2021.

Throughout the pandemic, our office has raised concerns to the Scottish Government and the SQA around assessment.

What has our office done around decisions to cancel exams in 2021?

Following the decision to cancel 2021’s Highers and Advanced Highers, the Commissioner has also been clear that the SQA should urgently communicate its alternative assessment plans.

And in March, our young advisers raised several concerns around the SQA’s model of assessment to the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills Committee.

In March our office also responded to the SQA’s consultation on their proposals for the 2021 National Qualifications Appeals Process:

What did our office do around the decision to cancel exams in 2020?

From early on, our office warned the SQA and the Government of:

  • the risks of not involving children and young people in decision making, as is their human right,
  • the need for much greater transparency, and
  • the requirement to take a rights-based approach to ensure all potential disadvantage was mitigated.

Following results day, the Commissioner has called on the SQA and Scottish Government to make sure all young people are treated fairly and get the results they deserve.

And our response to the Scottish Government’s independent review into the results process stresses the need for any future decisions to be made within a framework of children’s rights.

Our 2020 work