Dear S4/5/6 Parent/Carer,
The summer brings the promise of warm, sunny days but it also brings the slightly nervous wait for the arrival of SQA results for those pupils (and their parents) who sat examinations back in May.
Many of you will be familiar with what happens once results are published on Tuesday August 6th. For the vast majority of pupils results are as expected or better but sometimes one or two results can appear to be a bit out of step and this letter provides a brief explanation of what happens then.
Those who sat SQA exams a number of years ago may well remember the appeals system. That system no longer exists. There are no appeals.
Once results are published there are two things the school can do if we believe that the SQA has made a mistake in marking a paper. We can ask them to check everything was counted and added up correctly – called a clerical check. Or, we can ask for a paper to be marked again – called a marking review. These checks are called the Post Results Service, or PRS.
In order to request either of those we must have credible evidence that the SQA has made a mistake. In order to assess the likelihood of that we need to consider all the evidence we have throughout the course to see if the performance on the exam was markedly at odds with usual performance.
In order to make this process consistent the City of Edinburgh uses a set of criteria to determine whether a paper may qualify for a PRS check or not. You can see these criteria at http://firrhillhigh.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/CEC-PRS-Advice-2019.pdf
There is a tight timeline for the process and you can see the timeline for 2019 at http://firrhillhigh.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/PRS-Timeline-for-Parents-2019.pdf
Curriculum Leaders will compare performance in the exams with performance across the course and will assess whether we have sufficient evidence to suggest that some kind of error has been made in the marking of an exam. Details of these will be then passed to me and I, on the basis of the evidence we hold, will determine whether to submit a PRS request or not.
If any of your child’s exams are being considered for a PRS request we will contact you to let you know what is happening.
It is only natural that parents want their children to do well but please read the Edinburgh guidance and the timeline before contacting the school. Every year we get requests from parents for a remark because their child is just one or two marks away from the next higher grade. However, that is not evidence that a mistake has been made by SQA and is not sufficient to merit a PRS request.
Every year only a tiny number of PRS requests are successful. You should have confidence that exams are marked fairly and accurately.