in the press | 05.08.2020 |

SQA was warned about impact on disadvantaged students, by Barry Black

University of Glasgow PhD Student, and UBDC associate, Barry Black has written an article on the SQA results day for

In the article, Barry notes that "The SQA was warned consistently throughout the process that this approach would impact upon the most disadvantaged students the most – because their schools have lower attainment rates over time" and explains why "the new normal looks frustratingly like the old".

He makes the point that "More disadvantaged young people have gained Highers this year, and that is always cause for celebration". However, he also notes that "The system has done the job of preserving the national standards of exams that understandably were scrapped this year. The problem is that if your "national standards" already produce results that are grotesquely unequal, a statistical model designed to maintain those standards will also be grotesquely unequal".

He says, "Any system would have needed elements of moderation, but the full reliance on historical attainment data has caused these issues – as they were warned from the outset".

Barry’s research Chances or Choices? Influences on Young People’s Learning Decisions aims to investigate the social and structural factors that influence pupils’ school subject choices in the Greater Glasgow region and assess the implications for employer’s engagement in schools.


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