Assessment in the Senior Phase
How will National 4 courses be assessed?
National 3 and 4 courses will be marked and assessed by teachers. National 4 courses will be made up of units including the new ‘Value Added Unit’. Units will test different aspects of the course. The Added Value Unit will test knowledge and skills from across all units in the course. Depending on the subject, it may be an assignment, a project, a portfolio, a practical activity or a question paper.
To achieve a pass at National 4 the pupil must pass all units in the course (as they did in Intermediate courses) and the Added Value Unit assessment. The National 4 Added Value Unit assessment will be set and marked by the school. National 3 and 4 courses will not be graded. Pupils will simply pass or fail.
How will National 5 courses be assessed?
National 5 courses will be made up of unit assessments and a course assessment (an exam). Course assessments (exams) will be marked externally by SQA. National 5 courses will normally consist of an exam question paper and / or coursework (eg assignments, projects, portfolios etc.) Units will be assessed and marked internally by teachers. They will be marked pass or fail and do not contribute to the final grade, but, to achieve a pass at National 5, the pupil must pass all units and the course assessment. The course will be graded A-D pass or ‘no award’.
How will Higher and Advanced Higher courses be assessed?
Highers and Advanced Highers will be made up of unit assessments, internal assessments and an exam. To achieve a pass at higher or Advanced Higher a young person must pass all the unit assessments and the final exam. The course will be graded A-D or ‘no-award’.
How will my child’s progress be monitored?
Teachers have considered how well your child has done in the past and have agreed an ‘ aspirational grade’ with them. In other words the grade they will be working to achieve by the end of S4. This grade will be entered into the school’s tracking system (an electronic management information system). Every time the young person is assessed their actual grade will also be recorded. This allows teachers, Principal Teachers and the Senior Leadership Team to monitor the progress of individuals in achieving their aspirational grades. This system allows us to send tracking reports to parents so that you can monitor progress too. If a young person needs more support or needs to work harder we will invite you to attend a Family Support Clinic where we will establish the nature of the problem and agree targets and supports for the way ahead.
Will my child have prelim examinations?
Yes. At Kyle Academy we think that young people need experience of working under SQA exam conditions, in an exam hall with external invigilators. We also need an early indication of how each young person is progressing so that we can identify the next steps if the young person is not achieving their aspirational grade. Prelims also provide evidence for SQA if absentee consideration is required (see below for more detail). There will be no study leave during prelims so that learning and teaching can continue.
Prelims are early and so young people will not have covered all of the course. For this reason they will have a second prelim (usually in class time) nearer the end of the course. Only National 5 pupils will sit prelims as they are the only pupils who need to sit a final exam.
Is it true that there will no appeals now?
Yes. The SQA Results Service will replace absentee and appeals processes from 2014. Candidates can request consideration of ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ which may include absence due to ill health / bereavement or if they have been adversely affected by exam arrangements. They can submit evidence from prelims but this year this evidence will be considered before results are published in August.
There is also a Post Results Service where any candidate can request a remark of their paper if they think there has been an error in marking. SQA will then conduct a Clerical Check to ensure that marks have been added up correctly, and possibly a Marking Review, undertaken by the Principal Assessor to ensure that marking was in line with national standards. There will be a cost for this service and parents and young people should be aware that marks can go up or down as a result of this process.