Exam results and appeals

Letter for parents and carers (4 August 2020)

Dear Parent/Carer,

Scottish Qualification Awards

Your child will have received his/her results and SQA Qualification Awards. These results are based on estimated grades provided by teachers who considered their knowledge and experience of your child’s performance over the year up to the point when schools closed in March. The SQA scrutinised these estimated grades and adjusted them if necessary, in order to be consistent with schools and colleges across the country, and with results from previous years.

I hope that you and your child feel that the results are an accurate reflection of performance in school courses. However, because of the exceptional circumstances that meant that no examinations were able to take place the SQA has re-introduced an ‘appeals’ (post-certification review) procedure this year.

Appeals are organised by the school and can only be submitted if the SQA has awarded a grade lower than the estimate submitted by the school, and there is appropriate evidence available to send to the SQA to support the process. The school will contact you if your child is entitled to have an appeal submitted. Please note that the appeals process can lead to the award of a lower grade

If you and/or your child would like to discuss SQA results, please contact the school. Please note that meetings in school can only take place by prior arrangement.

I recognise that this has been a challenging time for young people and their families. Please be assured that I and my colleagues will support you and your child in any way we can.

Thank you in advance for your support and understanding.

Kelly McIntosh

Director of Education and Lifelong Learning, Angus Council

2020 Qualifications

Following a statement by the Chief Examiner on 2nd April 2020, further guidance for parents and carers has been issued; this can be found on the SQA website.  Useful information can also be found on the National Parent Forum of Scotland website.

The key points are:

  • Schools have been asked to provide an estimate of the grade and band for all learners entered for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses by 29th May 2020
  • The SQA will not mark any coursework which has already been submitted by schools and will not ask for coursework for any level to be submitted. 
  • Schools will assess all unit passes for National 2, National 3 and National 4 courses and free-standing units for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher by 22nd May 2020

Producing Estimates

SQA has issued advice to all schools on how to produce estimates.  Teachers will take account of a wide range of evidence throughout the year.  Estimates will not be based solely on pupil performance in prelims or assessments; teachers will use ongoing formal and informal assessment data, including progress in classwork, which reflect pupil performance up to 20th March 2020. Individual pupil circumstances will also be taken into account during this process. The SQA has advised that schools should exercise caution in considering work completed at home after 20th March 2020 when producing estimates.      


Information on how the SQA will use estimates to produce results can be found on the SQA website. Please note that the result produced by SQA may be higher or lower than the estimate submitted by the school.  Results will be issued by 4th August 2020.


If the school disagrees with the result awarded by SQA, an appeal may be submitted.  Please note that appeals will be judged on evidence of pupils’ work provided by the school.  In many cases, the assessment evidence we have for each child may reflect a lower level of attainment than the estimate we submit. 

This is an anxious time for you, as parents and carers, and for our young people.  The SQA will not provide information to schools on how they arrive at the results of individual pupils.  Similarly, schools are unable to provide information to parents, carers and pupils on the estimate grades we provide.  Please be assured that your school knows its pupils and their individual circumstances well and will do its utmost to ensure that the estimates provided are an accurate reflection of the young person’s demonstrated and inferred attainment throughout the year. 

About exam results and appeals

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) issue exam results to pupils and schools around the first week in August.

SQA have replaced the Appeals system with the Post Results Service.

A school can request either a Clerical Check (to make sure all questions have been marked and the marks added up correctly) or a Marking Review. This, in addition to the clerical check, ensures that all questions have been marked in line with national standards and the correct result has been entered.

If you have a query about any of your results, speak to your pupil care and support (PC&S) teacher.