Scots to see high levels of appeals

September 1, 2000

There is continuing uncertainty over the numbers of young Scots gaining university places as schools predict a massive rise in examination result appeals.

Although the Scottish Qualifications Authority maintains that the vast majority of Highers results affected by missing data are now complete, it is only now obtaining details of appeals.

David Caldwell, director of the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals, said reports were emerging from admissions staff that fewer candidates than usual were meeting conditional offers.

"There is continuing uncertainty, and that's a source of concern to us. What may happen is that a lot of appeals may be successful," he said.

"There is anecdotal evidence that some head teachers are saying there will be twice as many appeals as usual, and others are saying there will be between three and four times as many."

The deadline for submitting evidence for appeals is this weekend. Mr Caldwell said that there had been assurances from the SQA that tertiary education candidates would have their appeals results by September 20 at the latest.

The SQA has admitted that Higher National courses are suffering a knock-on effect from the school examination problems. Results are not affected, since the courses have a separate marking system within further education colleges, but there will be a delay of at least two weeks in issuing certificates.

A further blow to the SQA is the revelation that some schools are still waiting for course material for the Advanced Highers. These replace the Certificate of Sixth-Year Studies and will be taken by many higher education candidates.

But 750 pupils in the southeast of Scotland are already working on Advanced Higher mathematics and science courses, thanks to pioneering outreach work by Heriot-Watt University.

Heriot-Watt has collaborated with schools and colleges on its Scholar programme, which has created common coursework for schools, colleges and Heriot-Watt's first year. The courses are delivered over the internet, backed by local tutorial support from teachers and lecturers.

Roy Leitch, Heriot-Watt's assistant principal, said the best candidates would have the chance of direct entry to the second year of related Heriot-Watt degrees.

In the news, page 8

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