The SQA’s controversial grade calculation algorithm would have seen significantly more pupils in the region have their marks bumped down than up, it has been revealed.
The grade prediction system was quickly scrapped and replaced with teachers’ estimates after it was found that factors such as location and a schools’ past attainment were significantly influencing grades over individual performance.
And research by The Ferret now shows that under this system, up to a third of higher results in Dumfries and Galloway would have been downgraded. Furthermore, it reveals that just 2.6 per cent of higher grades in the region would have been adjusted up.
Annan Academy would have seen 14.4 per cent of highers adjusted from pass to fail, 31.1 per cent of highers dumped down and 2.4 per cent upgraded.
At Dumfries Academy, 9.9 per cent of higher grades would have been annulled, with just over a quarter of students at higher level having grades adjusted down and 2.2 per cent bumped up.
11.7 per cent of Moffat Academy’s higher pupils would have seen the algorithm adjust passes to fails, with just half a percentage receiving upgraded marks and 30.9 per cent having highers adjusted down.
And Lockerbie Academy would have been the only secondary school in the region where the number of highers being adjusted up, 6.7 per cent, would have exceeded the number being changed from pass to fail , 6.0 per cent. However, 17 per cent of Lockerbie’s pupils sitting highers were still set to have grades adjusted down prior to the Government’s u-turn.
Reacting to the findings, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “This analysis lays bare the extent to which the Scottish Government were about to jeopardise the future of hundreds of young people across Dumfries and Galloway.
“It is no coincidence that in some of the region’s schools the level of changes to results about to be imposed were more than twice that of private schools in Scotland.
“The so called algorithm used by the SQA was biased against poorer pupils and it makes me angry that the Government were quite prepared to go ahead with such inequality until Labour forced them into a u-turn by tabling a vote of no confidence in Parliament on Education Secretary John Swinney. However, pupils, parents and teachers will not forget this scandal.”