SQA Results 2020

SQA Results 2020

SQA Results 2020

The release of SQA Results, and the subsequent decision to upgrade any result which had been downgraded, have undoubtedly caused concern for pupils, parents and indeed school staff across Scotland.  This page gives important information about the SQA results published in August 2020 and their subsequent revision following the government statement on the 11 August 2020. The school has now received the updated results for each pupil and is in the process of sharing these with pupils.  Any candidate who has a grade changed will receive a new certificate.  The SQA has also confirmed that results will be shared with UCAS.

Each finalised award falls into one of 3 categories

  1. Estimate Accepted – The initial moderation process awarded the same grade as the estimate provided to the SQA.
  2. Moderated Up – The initial moderation process awarded a higher grade than the estimate provided.  The pupil keeps this award
  3. Reverted to Estimate – The moderation process reduced the initial award, but this has now been upgraded to match the teacher’s estimate.

The SQA have now published their revised appeals process and detail of this can be found using the following link.



As a result of the change in approach to awarding qualifications, the SQA’s plan to operate a Post Certification Review Process (appeals) as part of the Alternative Certification Model for 2020 has been replaced by a revised appeals process.  There are now three grounds – which will, according to SQA, arise only exceptionally –  upon which a centre can submit an appeal:

  1. The Head of Centre believes that there has been an error within SQA’s internal processes for reinstating the original centre estimate
  2. The Head of Centre believes that there has been an administrative error within the centre leading to provision of estimate information to SQA which did not accurately reflect the centre’s intention at the time of submission, and/or
  3. The Head of Centre believes that there has been discrimination or other conduct contrary to the Equality Act 2010 identified within the centre relating to protected characteristics, leading to the provision of estimate information to SQA which does not accurately reflect the centre’s view following investigation of the circumstances carried out by the centre.

It is only the Head of Centre, or their nominated representative, using their professional judgement and discretion, who can submit an appeal.

Ground 2 above does not permit an appeal where the centre seeks to revise the original estimate on the basis that it considers that its academic judgement as to the estimate in May was wrong.

Since Scottish Government announced that teacher estimates will now be adopted as final grades, some parents have raised concerns about teacher judgements.  Guidance to support schools in dealing with such concerns was issued in June and has been revised in light of the changes made to the certification process.  As things stand, however, the position of the SPSO ( Scottish Public Services Ombudsman) is that they cannot consider matters that have an alternate appeal process.  A key point to note is that the SPSO will not consider a complaint where the desired resolution is a change in exam result.

While any parent or pupil can choose to make a formal complaint, any subsequent investigation by the council would focus on the process used to make those judgements rather than the grade awarded itself. 

It is important, therefore, that you understand the rigorous process which was undertaken to decide on a pupil’s estimate grade.  This involved a 4 stage process


  • After undertaking SQA training, teachers (often multiple teachers) reviewed the available evidence, from a variety of sources before, after and including prelim data.  Using their professional judgement and inferred (expected) levels of attainment based on the evidence available to them teachers derived an initial estimate. 
  • Additional assessment needs were also taken into account, as they would have been if pupils were able to sit their final exams.
  • Selected pupils were specifically flagged by pastoral support teams as requiring additional scrutiny of the evidence over and above the standard evidence review to ensure that teachers took into account any known extenuating circumstances which may have impacted upon the available evidence.


  • Groups of teachers reviewed the initial estimates.  This included discussions with subject colleagues including PT Faculty
  • Pupil estimates were signed off by two or more faculty teachers (including the Principal Teacher of Faculty)


  • The Schools SQA Coordinator and Principal Teachers of Faculty undertook a collaborative review of estimates for each course in comparison with historical data (results and estimates) and trends. This considered patterns of uplift from prelim to final exams, as well as the impact of any local improvement priorities.


  • The schools full Senior Leadership Team reviewed each individual pupil’s estimates.  Where required, estimates were further discussed with faculty staff adjusted where appropriate.


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