School letters

Dear parent/carer, The new National Qualifications exams: your questions answered There are a number of issues surrounding the new National Qualification exams we’d like to clarify with you, as they may be causing some angst. We consulted you recently to ask where clarification was needed and your responses have informed the composition of this document. As a result of responding to your questions, this is a lengthy communication, however, we trust you find it useful. If your question has not been answered below, please feel free to approach anyone on the team at Parents’ Evening on Wednesday 5th February - we look forward to welcoming you then. Kind regards, S. Clyde Head Teacher Please note: Whilst these responses apply to the majority of cases there will, inevitably, be exceptions to the rules, as some courses have specific features that preclude them from broad statements. It is always worthwhile clarifying with the Principal Teacher of the subject in question. How does National 4/5 compare to Standard Grade? The new National Qualifications are, in many ways, replacing the Standard Grade exams, with National 5 becoming the stepping stone into Higher level. However, there is not a direct comparison between National 4 and General; nor National 5 and Credit. Whilst there is a rough correlation, many National 5 courses are in fact much more challenging that Credit was. This means that, for some learners, National 5 may be attained by the end of S5, not S4. The assessment structures have changed too, with some courses now requiring folios of work instead of an end of year exam. For more detail on this, please ask the individual subject teacher at Parents’ Evening. What is the progression from the Nationals to Higher? National 5 is the level that should be achieved before embarking on a Higher course. Some learners will achieve National 5 by the end of S4, leading to a Higher in S5. Others may not achieve a National 5 until S5, which could leave S6 for a Higher. For some learners, their attainment in a particular subject may be complete at National 4, or perhaps National 3. When will a decision be made about what level my child will sit? After the prelim exams, teachers will have a very clear perspective on what levels are most appropriate for your child at this time. These decisions are made to give them the best possible chance at attaining a positive award and will be based not only on the result of the prelim, but