Backlash as the SNP contemplates scrapping National 5 exams as part of a school reform plan.
SNP authorities are considering controversial measures that would allow Scots students to leave school without taking final exams.
According to a report commissioned by the Scottish Government, important National 5 certificates taken at the end of S4 should be scrapped. Instead, international experts suggest that 16-year-olds be given a graduation certificate comparable to the diplomas used across North America.
This might be based on a mix of teacher evaluations and extracurricular activities like music or the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.
Exam diet in senior secondary school should be “de-cluttered,” according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). It also advised that in assessing S4-S6, online tests and oral presentations should be used more frequently.
As part of a revamp of the school curriculum, new Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville is examining the findings.
Critics, on the other hand, asked that ministers keep the long-standing assessment system in place.
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“Externally assessed exams are one of the last remaining features of our once world-leading education system, after 14 years of disastrous SNP reforms,” said Scottish Tory education spokesman Oliver Mundell.
“No government serious about improving standards would consider eliminating them. Rather than promoting a debate about exam abolition, the SNP should focus on reinstating the tried-and-true measures that we already know work.”
This will be part of our efforts to ensure that every aspect of our educational system is intended to allow students to reach their maximum potential.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville
The report was requested following the cancellation of exams for two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic’s interruption.
Traditional tests, it noted, can only examine a “narrow breadth of knowledge and abilities.” Ministers should “explore alternate ways to acknowledge the end of compulsory schooling,” according to the OECD.
“One example… is to eliminate National 5 examinations at the age of 16 (S4) and replace them with a school graduation certificate or diploma. On a global scale, the majority of students today continue their education or training beyond the age of 16, and upper-secondary school exams are geared toward students aged 18 and up.
“Given that compulsory education is coming to an end, some type of school graduation certificate may be more appropriate.”
Last year, thousands of students were affected by the cancellation of exams, which sparked outcry.