The Student Room Group

National 4 and 5 Scottish exams to be scrapped

Poll

Do you agree with scrapping National 5 exams?

Old story (June 2023) and thought that it was a joke at first but looks like this is serious.

https://news.stv.tv/scotland/scotlands-fourth-year-national-five-and-national-four-exams-to-be-scrapped-under-radical-education-review

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-65926632
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-65987120


National Exams for fourth-year students are set to be abolished under radical new recommendations for Scotland’s education system.

Pupils in schools across the country would not longer sit National Five and National Four tests as part of the plans.

The Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment (IRQA) was commissioned by the Scottish Government to look at how well the current system is working.

The review was announced by then-education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville in October 2021.

It comes after formal exams were temporarily halted as a result of the Covid pandemic.

The blueprint, produced by Professor Louise Hayward of the University of Glasgow, has recommended that 15 and 16-year-olds will be graded on coursework as well as other areas including volunteering as part of a “Scottish diploma”.

Fifth and sixth-year students would still sit their Highers under the changes, but National four and five tests would be scrapped.

Plans would see the adoption of the SDA (Scottish Diploma of Achievement) as a graduation certificate for all senior phase educational settings along with the end of exams in S4 and a wider range of assessment methods used in Highers and Advanced Highers.

The report also recommends a digital profile for all learners which allows them to record personal achievements, identify and plan future learning.

The report is now under consideration by the Scottish Government with the views of teachers now being sought.

In a submission to the review, Scotland’s largest teaching union, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), said the number of young people leaving school with few formal qualifications was a “cause of concern,” branding the current system “narrow and reductive”.


I must say that despite me having issues with the current education system (especially in England because exams are linear for GCSE and A-levels here), I’m not a fan of this move. Will English and Welsh qualifications be taken more seriously then?

What are your thoughts on this plan?

Maybe I’m being a salty English woman.
seriously? I'm not in school anymore but nat 5s are such a valuable practice run for your Higher exams (which are what get you into uni). Why shouldn't you have the chance to sit formal exams before your most important ones of your school career? Also Nat 5s are important as a baseline for maths and english (everyone has to do them, essential for literally any degree/career). Are we just giving up on ensuring that people have a basic level of maths and english? Ridiculous
Original post by playingcatchup
seriously? I'm not in school anymore but nat 5s are such a valuable practice run for your Higher exams (which are what get you into uni). Why shouldn't you have the chance to sit formal exams before your most important ones of your school career? Also Nat 5s are important as a baseline for maths and english (everyone has to do them, essential for literally any degree/career). Are we just giving up on ensuring that people have a basic level of maths and english? Ridiculous

I agree. Need to make pupils sit Maths and English language bare bare minimum.
One really important caveat is that I can't see that the Scottish Govt have responded to this report yet, or set out any plans to change the qualifcation structure.

I don't see any reason why Scotland need to set exams at 16 just because England/Wales/NI do though.
Original post by Saracen's Fez
One really important caveat is that I can't see that the Scottish Govt have responded to this report yet, or set out any plans to change the qualifcation structure.

I don't see any reason why Scotland need to set exams at 16 just because England/Wales/NI do though.


practice sitting formal exams for Highers, getting a qualification in maths/english without having to pursue it further (lots of people leave school at 16 to pursue apprenticeships/college, or even if you're staying on you might not want to do Higher maths for example (I didn't))... it's not just because the rest of the UK has exams at 16
Original post by Saracen's Fez
One really important caveat is that I can't see that the Scottish Govt have responded to this report yet, or set out any plans to change the qualifcation structure.

I don't see any reason why Scotland need to set exams at 16 just because England/Wales/NI do though.


I’d agree with this if the legal school leaving age was 18 years old like it is in England, (so I’d support England making GCSEs optional/scrapping them or them deciding to lower the school leaving age to 16 years old, not England doing the 2 simultaneously):
https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school

Unless they’ll make the school mandatory until you turn 18 or something but I have no idea, I’d probably need to research to see if I can find more information.

I’m not expert in education though but I don’t like the current system in England (must do GCSEs for the most part, can’t fully leave education at 16) and don’t fully support the Scottish potential plan (let’s maybe scrap National 5 exams and not maybe raise the school leaving age to 18).
Reply 6
Original post by Talkative Toad
I’d agree with this if the legal school leaving age was 18 years old like it is in England, (so I’d support England making GCSEs optional/scrapping them or them deciding to lower the school leaving age to 16 years old, not England doing the 2 simultaneously):
https://www.gov.uk/know-when-you-can-leave-school

Unless they’ll make the school mandatory until you turn 18 or something but I have no idea, I’d probably need to research to see if I can find more information.

I’m not expert in education though but I don’t like the current system in England (must do GCSEs for the most part, can’t fully leave education at 16) and don’t fully support the Scottish potential plan (let’s maybe scrap National 5 exams and not maybe raise the school leaving age to 18).


Mebby someone finds them useful, but if you leave school at 16 I can't see anyone you'd want to work for really caring about grades of an exam system they don't understand.
Original post by Quady
Mebby someone finds them useful, but if you leave school at 16 I can't see anyone you'd want to work for really caring about grades of an exam system they don't understand.

Finds what useful?

That could be true but I think that you need to sit exams in English Language and Maths bare minimum.

I think Scotland should take notes from countries like Finland (not sure how realistic this would be though) if they want less emphasis on things like exams and more emphasis on vocational skills: https://okm.fi/en/education-system
(edited 7 months ago)
Reply 8
Original post by Talkative Toad
Finds what useful?

That could be true but I think that you need to sit exams in English Language and Maths bare minimum.

I think Scotland should take notes from countries like Finland (not sure how realistic this would be though) if they want less emphasis on things like exams and more emphasis on vocational skills: https://okm.fi/en/education-system


Mebby someone finds scottish exam results of those leaving education at 16 useful.

Why bother sitting exams for maths and English at a bare minimum?
Original post by Quady
Mebby someone finds scottish exam results of those leaving education at 16 useful.

Why bother sitting exams for maths and English at a bare minimum?

Most important subjects, and to have evidence to show that you have competence in them as a result.
Reply 10
Original post by Talkative Toad
Most important subjects, and to have evidence to show that you have competence in them as a result.


Show to whom?

[I'm asking this/going down this track as an employer based in Scotland. I have no idea what Nat4/5s are, what 'competance' would look like for any given result and I rely only the covering letter to demonstrate written english ability, the interview for verbal and test maths if required]
Original post by Quady
Show to whom?

[I'm asking this/going down this track as an employer based in Scotland. I have no idea what Nat4/5s are, what 'competance' would look like for any given result and I rely only the covering letter to demonstrate written english ability, the interview for verbal and test maths if required]


Universities and some employers.
Reply 12
Original post by Talkative Toad
Universities and some employers.


I kinda assumed those who left education at 16 weren't applying for uni...

Nor did I think lack of age 16 qualifications were that much of a barrier for those looking to go to university as mature students.
Original post by Quady
I kinda assumed those who left education at 16 weren't applying for uni...

Nor did I think lack of age 16 qualifications were that much of a barrier for those looking to go to university as mature students.


There’s college and apprenticeships as well (they want a pass in GCSE English language and Maths or an equivalent qualification for the most part, at least in my experience).

Not everyone will apply to these things as a mature student .

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