Mixed response from pupils as some bemoan downgraded exam results

Pupils across Scotland have reacted to receiving their exam results, with many missing out on the grades they had hoped for.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams body downgraded some submitted results despite no exams taking place and pass rates rising at every level.

Aiden from Falkirk was predicted to get three As and a B but was given a B and 3Cs and has been encouraged by his teachers to appeal.

The 17-year-old told the PA news agency: “I was very proud of the Scottish education system but after this I am really disappointed.

“In modern studies we are taught about how in America, if you attend a school in a more affluent area, you are more likely to get into university.

“And we all thought ‘that’s America’ and we’re led to believe that doesn’t happen in the UK or in Scotland but this has shown clear as day it happens here.”

He added: “If they look at schools and what they’ve attained in the past 15-20 years – I wasn’t born 20 years ago.

“I don’t know how they can give me a B in modern studies because someone in my area got a B in modern studies at a similar level years ago, I just don’t think that’s fair.”

The teenager said he felt pupils and teachers had been “left in the dark” about how exams had been marked and what the appeals process is.

He added he was told to approach his teachers about appealing against results – but said they do not know much more than pupils.

Lewis Nixon from Bishopbriggs, just outside Glasgow, is another pupil who raised questions over how the results were calculated.

The 16-year-old told PA: “I got As in history and modern studies; Bs in maths, English and PE; a C in chemistry, and a D in computing – this was despite getting a C in my computing prelim and an A in both my English and PE prelims.

“A lot of people in my school feel that they have also been marked unfairly, even though our school is usually up very high when it comes to nationwide exam grades.

“But I also know a lot of people who go to schools in more deprived areas who have been given terrible grades despite doing well through the school year.”

She added: “I don’t understand why the SQA are deciding our results when our teachers have a much better understanding of our work and progress.

“Even then, there is almost never a reason for moving someone down a grade from their predicted grade – it’s been a shambles.

“Our teachers have even been emailing us saying they’ve not got a clue what’s been going on.”


Others were happy with the grades they received on Tuesday morning.

Brooke Adam, an S5 pupil at Linwood High, was part of a group who opened their results live on TV.

The 16-year-old said: “I got six As and a B and I’m very happy with it.

“Next year I am doing five Highers and when I leave school I’d like to be either a paediatric doctor or a child’s nurse.

“It was a bit nerve-wracking because we didn’t sit exams so I didn’t have an idea of how I’d done so that was a bit weird.”

If you've got a question about your #SQAResults, speak to your school or college first. If you've got questions about your certificate, the SQA Candidate Advice Line is available now to help – Call 0345 279 1000 or follow the link – https://t.co/UuXfDZv8F2pic.twitter.com/GyVzNuflKP

— SQA (@sqanews) August 4, 2020

A 17-year-old pupil from St Ninian’s High School in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, who has a rare autoimmune condition called myasthenia gravis, has celebrated gaining five As.

Zainab Alani from Newton Mearns said: “When I was diagnosed with the condition it was quite frightening and then as part of my management plan I had to go in for surgery.

“As soon as I was able I wanted to get back to school so that I could get some normality back in my life.

“Now I want to pursue a career in medicine to give back to all the amazing nurses and doctors who have cared for me throughout this difficult time.

“I’m so delighted that I’ve got the results now which will hopefully help me go in the direction that I want to.”