Father’s complaint over exam dismissed

Two complaints against Scottish Borders Council and the Scottish Qualifying Authority over an exam row at a secondary school have been dismissed.

Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Jim Martin said SBC was entitled to disagree with the SQA’s view that the Higher physics preliminary test fell short of the standard it required.

And he ruled that the SQA had provided adequate feedback to the school on why it believed the exams were not up to scratch.

The case arose after the school launched an appeal on behalf of a female pupil – who gained a B pass in the prelim but a C mark in the SQA final exam in May 2010 – which was thrown out.

The SQA gave two reasons for its decision to reject the girl’s appeal and that of another student who sat the Higher physics test, both relating to the validity of the prelim exam, which is put together by the school.

As a result, the father of the girl – named Mr C in the ombudsman’s report – launched complaints against the SQA and SBC as the education authority.

He claimed the SQA had failed to reasonably explain why it considered the school’s preliminary examination not sufficiently robust to support a successful appeal, while he believed SBC had not given clear answers as to why the prelim did not meet the SQA’s criteria.

Mr Martin said: “In response, the council advised that they considered that the school preliminary examination was adequately moderated and did not accept the SQA’s explanation.

“The investigation considered that the council were entitled to take that view and the complaint was not upheld.”

And discussing the SQA case, he added: “We did not uphold Mr C’s complaint. The SQA had provided feedback to the school on why they had dismissed the appeals.”