Scottish students will be able to appeal directly and free of charge against grades awarded under this year’s Alternative Certification Model (ACM).
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced that the service would be made available for the first time during a statement in Holyrood on Wednesday afternoon.
However, she also revealed that the system would operate on a “symmetric” model, meaning grades could go up or down depending on the evidence provided.
Ms Somerville also defended the determination of the ACM’s results based on demonstrated achievement, stressing that this would ensure that the results are fair and reliable.
His statement comes in the wake of growing fears about this year’s alternative assessment regimes, which have left young people facing the treadmill of stressful, high-stakes tests as teachers gather evidence for provisional grades.
Details about the system are also published on the website of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).
The advice states: “A key principle of awarding merit in any given year is that a learner’s grades are based on evidence of their demonstrated achievement of skills and knowledge of a course, and this is a central part of this year’s optional certification Characteristics Sample.
“In view of this, the appeal of a result must also be based on evidence of demonstrated achievement of the learner against the national standard.
“Therefore, the consequences of an evidence-based appeal may be that a learner’s grade may go up, go down, or stay the same.”
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But the new Shadow Education Secretary Oliver Mundell said the SNP and SQA had deceived Scottish youth by putting them in a worse position than the students affected last year.
The Scottish Conservatives also claimed that the SQA was not fit for purpose and should be changed to restore trust.
Mr Mundell said the confirmation that accessing SQA assessment papers and marking scripts online was “dangerous” and the SNP reflects the ministers’ total failure to address the concerns of students before appearing for the exam in “all but name”.
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