Angry, worried, lack of clarity and inadequate support, these are just some of the many words teachers around Scotland, parents, I and other pupils are saying about the Scottish Qualifications Authority’s (SQA) new “simplified” exams. Around 65,000 pupils and I are in our 4th year at high school and are studying to sit the “new and improved” exams. After over 30 years of Standard Grades they have been replaced with new “simplified” exams, these exams are called Nationals. These exams have replaced the old, much admired and beloved Standard Grades but why? The standard grades are admired as one of the best exam papers in the world!!! Other countries model there whole exam paper around standard grades! So why the big change??
Well “The new changes, which will come into effect from 2013, will deliver qualifications that reflect Scotland’s new approach to teaching and learning with a more streamlined system, which is simpler for pupils, parents and employers to understand.” This is the reason the SQA have given for the huge change. But my Mum, Dad, Granny, Uncles, Aunties don’t understand what they are! Even when I try to explain (the very little knowledge I have about) the exams! Is this just me and my family or am I not alone? Because these new exams will decide my and 65,000 other 4th year pupils future and is it right we know so very little about them? Also in that statement released by the Scottish government in 2009 mentions nothing on how the teachers- the most important people of the whole operation- felt about the change or how they would understand the new course and qualifications. Was this to cover up something or was it that the teachers didn’t like the course and didn’t find it easy to understand?
The answer is yes because earlier this year, a survey was conducted by the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS). This company is the country’s largest teaching union and found shockingly that more than half of the teachers that replied to the survey said that they were “barely confident” of their school’s readiness to teach and deliver the new National exams. Also about 11 percent of the teachers who responded said they were “not confident at all” of their department’s readiness for the new National exams! Is this not clear enough proof that NO ONE is ready for the new nationals!!! But again the EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland) had asked for the new exams to be delayed by a year. This “move” has already been made by East Renfrewshire Council. This council is he home to some of the country’s...