Coronavirus: The three school exam options under consideration

Education secretary will set out the finer details of imminent school closures later.

There are currently three options being considered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) as school pupils prepare to sit their exams during the coronavirus epidemic.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Wednesday schools would shut this week because they had lost too many staff to continue as normal.

Education secretary John Swinney will set out the finer detail of these closures in Scottish Parliament later – including what it means for SQA exams due to begin in April – however he has already outlined the options being considered.

The exam diet could proceed

Mr Swinney was asked about the topic of exams in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday. “First, the exam diet could proceed,” he explained. “Currently, that is the intention and it is the SQA’s position.”

In practice, this would need to involve measures of social distancing, including separating pupils into different, much smaller groups around a school building, with more invigilators.

Exams could be delayed

GCSEs and A-Levels in England and Wales have been cancelled and this is an option for Nationals and Highers in Scotland, meaning they could be delayed until a later date.

Mr Swinney conceded this would cause “significant disruption” but the country is already facing such disruption as it deals with the spread of coronavirus.

Accreditation without final exam

The third option is some form of accreditation of learning, based on the evidence schools currently have available, including a combination of course work, prelim results and estimations based on teacher judgement.

Mr Swinney will explain the Scottish Government’s exact course of action this afternoon.

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