Pupils are facing another exam results “fiasco” and the Scottish Government should publish details of the appeals process, Scottish Labour has said.
Although the exams diet was cancelled, pupils and teachers have warned there has been an intense period of exam-like assessments since schools reopened so teachers can provide evidence to back up their grade estimates.
Fiona Robertson, head of the Scottish Qualification Authority, had promised to set out the appeals process for the new system by early May at the latest but she is yet to do so.
Last Wednesday, then education secretary John Swinney told Parliament he expected it to be “published shortly”, with the vast majority of pupils’ estimated grades having to be submitted by June 25.
Scottish Labour education spokesman Michael Marra has now written to new Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville, as he warned of a “summer of discontent” in the education system.
In the letter, Mr Marra welcomed Ms Somerville to the role but said it is “unforgivable” that teachers and young people still have “no clarity” about the appeals process.
He wrote: “The most immediate priority in this work is the current exams crisis which is impacting tens of thousands of young people, their teachers and their families right now.
“Your predecessor’s insistence that there are no exams being undertaken did a disservice to the young people working day and night to sit the examinations that have been set.
“It is clear that lessons from last year’s exams fiasco have not be learned, and that this year’s alternative assessment system has the potential to be more damaging than the one used last year.”
He called on Ms Somerville to publish the SQA appeals process and guarantee resits for any pupil who wants one, and to set out a “no detriment” policy for accessing higher or further education.
Mr Marra said: “We are facing a summer of discontent in education. It is not of the new minister’s making but it falls to her to deal with it.
“That’s why I am calling on the minister to listen to teachers, education experts, unions and Labour and take the vital action needed now to solve another exams fiasco in our education system.
“Our young people need hope after this dreadful year.
“The minister must deal with the damage and distress that has already been caused by this Government. She must also start to rebuild opportunity for young Scots’ futures.”
An SQA spokesman said: “The outcomes of the appeals consultation are currently being finalised, following the public consultation.
“We aim to announce details of the appeals process imminently.
“Learners should be reassured that a comprehensive appeals process will be in place in good time.
“The current focus should be on maximising teaching and learning and the gathering of evidence to support the development of provisional grades.”
Asked about the lack of clarity for pupils and teachers, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “We’re taking great care over these decisions, it’s important that we try to get the system for appeals right and we’ve been listening carefully to some of the representations that have been made from people, including the children’s commission.
“I personally had discussions with education officials about it this week to make sure we get the details of it right.
“The details of it are being finalised and we do expect to publish the details of what the appeals process looks like very soon.
“I hope that it will give a lot of reassurance to young people that – if they feel when they get the grade that is awarded to them that they are not happy with that – then they have the ability to go through an appeals process.
“But I hope people will understand, given the situation we’re in right now, that we’re taking time and the SQA is taking time.”