University of Edinburgh

Special Assessment Arrangements

Specification 1: Course Assessment

As you know we have always allowed, for example, at Standard Grade, the omission of an element. The new qualifications have an entirely new structure, they are not like standard grades. So we did consider, "What about candidates where there are no arrangements that we could put in place to overcome the barrier?" Could we exempt the candidate from particular aspects of the qualification? We decided, yes, it might well be possible to do that but it would be good to have 'a line in the sand' about the absolute maximum amount of a course assessment of a qualification that we could allow.

In national courses at N5 to Advanced Higher course assessment usually consists of about 2 assessment components. Very often in the majority of subjects there is still a question paper but there might be in addition to the question paper: a case study, an assignment, a project, a practical activity, a performance and one more [a portfolio] they are all on the SQA website.

Now obviously with things like practical activities or performance; if a candidate is required to talk, move or listen there are a group of candidates for whom this might present a barrier. So in a course assessment where there is an assessment component like the performance, lets take the performance of talk, where that would comprise 30 percent or more of the course assessment then there is no way we would ever allow exemption, irrespective of the candidate's individual needs, because it would fundamentally undermine the qualification. If a component in a qualification is 30 percent (a third) of the qualification, we are saying that's too much in terms of maintaining the integrity and public confidence of the qualification.

So that's the line in the sand that we would never allow. Up to 30 percent we are not saying we would always allow it but we would consider whether or not it is reasonable, given the individual candidates needs and in terms of what the qualification is about. So that's quite an important one when we're talking about English which assesses the 4 modes of communication: reading, writing, talking and listening. It's very important in performance qualifications, it might be important for those visually impaired candidates maybe doing practical activities, just be aware of that one.

That's the first specification.

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