Tuesday 11 August
So they’ve admitted the mistake. Nicola Sturgeon has said sorry that the system used to moderate exam passes by the SQA in the wake of the exams being cancelled was a fiasco and pledged to remedy it. John Swinney may be spared the embarrassment of a no confidence motion; with him having the cabinet office for education, the buck stops here. A while back I did teacher training in Aberdeen which taught us about ways of scaling down exam results to achieve a desired overall pass rate. What happened this year with an arbitrary system that moderated pupils’ outcomes according to their schools’ past record was very different and quite unfair.
When you are in your teens exam passes are very important for getting to the next step. But the value of getting As or Bs or whatever diminishes as time goes on. What you are in life matters more than credentials; exam passes won’t make you into a kinder, better person.
I don’t say that to minimise the hurt felt by young people who were marked down to an arbitrary formula. They may find that the review promised will provide the answer.
When we sit exams we try to do our best; and when we do well we rightly feel a sense of honour.
Perhaps we might reflect, though. We are not promised fairness in life, or in exams. And whatever our circumstances, good or bad, we should aim not just to bring honour to ourselves but ‘to live the kind of life that brings honour to the Lord in every way’ (Colossians 1:10). Or as poet and hymnwriter George Herbert wrote, ‘Teach me my God and King that what I do in everything I do it as for thee’.