North-east education chiefs are putting plans in place for pupils’ assessments – and are exploring the possibility of digital tests if youngsters cannot return to the classroom.
The majority of pupils are currently learning from home due to Covid-19 restrictions, while exams have been cancelled – with grades instead based on teacher evidence.
Children are learning remotely using Google Classroom until at least the beginning of February, with a further extension possible.
That has raised the possibility of senior pupils not being able to take assessments in the classroom.
Local authority chiefs are now working to put plans in place to ensure tests – which could determine pupils’ grades at the end of the year – can be taken remotely using the same online platform.
In a letter to parents, Aberdeen City Council’s chief education officer Eleanor Sheppard said: “In terms of gathering assessment evidence for pupils’ estimated grades, SQA guidance states that assessment evidence should reflect the breadth and depth of the course.
“In its most recent update, the SQA has highlighted the importance of planning assessment when young people are at a more advanced stage of course completion.
“As such, schools will schedule assessments to take place in the later stages of the 2020-21 session. These planned assessments will add to the body of evidence which teachers have been gathering throughout the session for each learner.
“If the decision is made that pupils can return to school in February, each secondary school will communicate their updated assessment calendar to pupils and parents/carers.
“If a further extension of online learning is announced, we will consider alternative arrangements to gather assessment evidence, for example, digitally. Whatever is decided, I want to assure you that we will adapt to the circumstances.
“We have been undertaking extensive scenario planning to ensure that our young people are afforded the best possible opportunities to demonstrate their progress and attainment.”
An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “An assessment can take many forms and are ongoing through Google Classrooms.
“The service is currently exploring a range of potential approaches to gather further assessment evidence when more course content has been delivered and will continue to be guided by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).”