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Monday, 14 August, 2000, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Have you been caught in the exam results fiasco?

The exam results controversy rumbles on in Scotland. It has already claimed the resignation of Scottish Qualifications Authority chief executive, Ron Tuck.

The pressure is now on the Education Minister, Sam Galbraith. He insists the prime consideration at the moment is to rectify the problems for the sake of anxious pupils.

What's your view? Have you received your results? Were they correct? How confident are you that the results are accurate?

HAVE YOUR SAY

As a result of the fiasco which has surrounded these exam results, delays, inaccuracies and missing results, a time which is supposed to be a good one has been ruined for many students as a direct result of the SQA's inefficiency and incompetence.

I, four days after the results were supposed to be issued, still have no certificate and no written confirmation of my results.

I feel that this is a complete disgrace, particularly as Sam Galbraith, the SQA and Ron Tuck knew of problems arising with this system from last year's trial run with Higher education students.

Despite the fact that the results are now being verified, in fact, not all results will be checked. I discovered this morning that the SQA are only taking a random sample of results to check and the rest will be left.

I sat and watched Sam Galbraith on numerous news programmes stressing that all candidates now have their results,

I'm living proof this is not the case. In addition, the SQA have tried to claim that each and every school would have the results e-mailed to them - which they did - but they failed to check whether the schools had the software to run the programme.

Thus, my school is sitting still - 5 days after they should have received the results - clueless as to what pupils gained.

I am disappointed that something was not done to rectify all these problems earlier and I am sure that had Sam Galbraith's son/daughter been sitting exams this year, that the implementation of this new system would have been made to wait for another year.
Marina Dickson, UK

What a disgrace! and so very typical of MPs and "leaders" in general nowadays to hold meetings and make decisions about important far-reaching issues without consulting the very people who know best, or worse ignoring that advice.

The inevitable result will always be chaos. Are the arrogant MPs and ministers ever brought to book?

Of course not - find a scapegoat lower down and blame them. Galbraith should set a good example and apologise publicly to the world and state that he isn't as clever as he thought he was, and then promptly resign.

He would probably make an ass of that as well.
Chris UK abroad, Germany

Just in reply to our fellows over in the US who have commented on this topic. Please get your facts right before labelling us as whingers. The fact of the matter is, the whole situation has been a shambles. It has nothing to do with the "oh its only exams, just get on with it".

We do know what exams are and the pressures involved, most of us have been through that. But here, the crucial aspect of dishing out exam results has been, basically, messed up by the powers that be.

So please get your facts right over there on the other side of the pond.
AG, Dundee, Scotland, UK

We still have the principle of ministerial responsibility. Galbraith should go and if Dewar can't deal with sacking incompetent ministers he should go too!
Julia McIntyre, Scotland

Surely government heads must roll when the oil of government causes such a monumental derailment as the recent exam fiasco, which must be a total embarrassment to a nation that values education.

If no resignation, what then the integrity of "education, education, education?"


Douglas Thomson, Scotland

Sam Galbraith's reaction to the shambles concerning the Higher exam results has been one of repeated denial that anything is wrong.

At first he said that only a very small number of results were incomplete but that there were certainly no inaccuracies. He then reluctantly accepted that thousands were incomplete or not delivered but that there were no inaccuracies.


According to Sam Galbraith students and parents only think there are mistakes because we are too stupid to understand the certificates

Brian Reavy, UK
He then accepted that there were a few inaccuracies but that this didn't invalidate the majority of results. Then only this morning I read in the paper that a random sample would be checked for validation purposes.

This evening I hear that all results are to be checked and validated. According to Sam Galbraith students and parents only think there are mistakes because we are too stupid to understand the certificates.

When will Sam Galbraith admit the scale of the biggest crisis to ever affect Scottish education and accept executive responsibility for it. The Labour party in Scotland will surely feel the brunt of the public's anger at the next elections especially if Sam Galbraith remains in office to insult the electorate further.
Brian Reavy, UK

I am totally and utterly disgusted with the SQA, Sam Galbraith and the entire Scottish system. We ALL knew from day one that these Higher Still exams would be trouble - during the course of the year we've had shambolic unit tests with typing errors, incorrect answers and impossible time restrictions.


Every single candidate is owed a letter of apology from Ron Tuck, and Sam Galbraith shouldn't have to resign as he should be fired - for gross negligence.

Ryan McGhee, UK
In business management a helpline set up to deal with complaints from teachers concerning coursework was closed down due to the fact that it was inundated with so many calls.

There should be a full enquiry into why, for the sake of political popularity, we were made to switch to a system which SIMPLY WASN'T READY.

Every single candidate is owed a letter of apology from Ron Tuck, and Sam Galbraith shouldn't have to resign as he should be fired - for gross negligence.

Using pupils as guinea pigs is pathetic. I achieved 98% in my Business Management prelim and have NEVER had below 95% in a unit test, yet I was given a B as my result. Other cases in my school include someone who received 95% in their prelim and in the final exam was granted a C - our teacher marked for the exam board until last year so the problem isn't there.

I think the whole thing is an utter disgrace and it's a shameful representation of what used to be a top-class education system. I'm all for going back to the old Highers!
Ryan McGhee, UK

I have listened with interest to your coverage of the Scottish exam results problems particularly on Radio Scotland and would like to make one point which I feel has not been followed up.

My daughter has STILL not received her Standard Grade certificate despite assurances from the SQA since last Thursday that all certificates were issued.

On Saturday they then said that certificate would be received on Monday the 14th - it was not. They now advise that all HAVE been issued and are passing the blame to the Post Office.

The Post Office assure me that they have issued ALL the certificates which they have been given and are not expecting any more today. Several of my daughter's school friends are in the same position.

I feel that we are being strung along by the SQA and given less than truthful answers. I feel this should be investigated.
John Gill, Edinburgh

All new systems encounter teething problems. So a few kids might lose out - what does that matter when compared to the common good? Kids get it too easy these days anyway.
MTC, Scotland

Higher Still was supposed to be a new start, a better system that gave students credit for work throughout the year instead of only on one day at the end of the course. Higher Still was supposed to improve standards and help sudents.


Higher Still has not fallen into crisis at results time. It has been a disaster from the start

Megan, Scotland
I'm sitting here looking at these messages, and it is clear Higher Still has failed many students. From sitting 10 internal assessments for modern studies throughout the year and assessments being badly timetabled - I myself sat four in two days - students were left demotivated and under a great deal of pressure.

And what about the student that does not begin to show their true potential until half way through the course? Sorry, two fails and you're out.

Higher Still has not fallen into crisis at results time. It has been a disaster from the start. Internal assessments disrupt classes, with some students having to resit, while others sit and do nothing. They take away valuable teaching time, which is, is it not, what we go to school for?

In some cases they put unfair pressure on pupils. Think of the student that sits five Highers - but in most cases they are simply a waste of time. If you pass first time, that's great, well done. If you fail, never mind, I'll tell you the answers before you resit.

Higher Still internal assessments, instead of showing what students are capable of throughout the year, have turned into more paperwork with no real substance.
Megan, Scotland

The Scottish Higher results have been a worrying subject for most students. Every year students wait in anticipation and also fear of what our exam results will be, however this year we are having to deal with more stress ... the results could be wrong!

I thought after I received my results, my certificate would show final grades. I never had any reason to doubt the SQA.

Strangely the recent exams have brought some interesting results, many of my friends who expected to do well in subjects did not!

As for the few people that did, it was more of a shock since many of these people failed their prelims! I had thought the years of work would have contributed in some way to our final grades.

I just do not know how to plan my life at the moment. I don't know whether I can celebrate my results at the moment. I feel my life is hanging on a thread, until the results fiasco is sorted out.

I don't think it is right that the SQA can get away with playing with peoples' lives. I feel the government should look into the problem. It's morally wrong!

As for the exam helpline helpline that has been set up, I have found it almost impossible to get through. I am not able to receive the help I need. I thought the exam board would be able to assist us in such times as these but they appear to be taking the ostrich approach and burying thier heads in the sand!
Natasha Kerr, Scotland

SQA claim 99.75% of certificates are complete. My son's certificate arrived on Saturday and is incomplete. Many of his friends certificates are also incomplete.

This problem appears to be underplayed by SQA & Scottish Executive. From personal experience and media reports it would appear to be more widespread than SQA admits.

The 2000 year exam results must be considered suspect and the only actions must be to fully re-assess all exam papers
David Smart, Scotland

On Thursday, despite the failiure of my results to arrive, I was stunned by the immediate labelling of the process a "fiasco". However, it now seems to have been a massive understatement.

When my results failed to arrive on Thursday, I quickly contacted the helpline and received what I hope are my results, and was informed that despite a few hiccups with some of the units I had sat, the certificate WAS on its way.

I telephoned again on Saturday, and was kindly informed once again of my grades and told I should be in receipt of the brown envelope on Monday.

For good measure, I was also provided with a Glasgow number for Royal Mail who could also confirm that they had nothing waiting to be delivered.

Monday's first post has arrived, and there is no dreaded SQA envelope.

I can appreciate that with such a sweeping reform of the Scottish 16+ educational system some organisational difficulties will be encountered, yet it is less the fault of politicians than it is of the SQA and schools.

As I have been informed, the PDF format was used to distribute results. This is a very common file interchange format and I see no reason why schools cannot view them, be their systems Acorn, Mac, Windows, Linux, or otherwise.

I am very concerned regarding the delivery of my results and fear that I may not be one of the few. Is it too much to ask for the SQA, even now, to keep us better appraised of the problems they face?
David Weir, West Lothian,

As a student, who went through the Scottish Education System, I am disgusted by the fiasco that has occured with the issuing of Highers results.

Perhaps (as numerous others have said) the administrators should start listening to the teachers about potential problems, and then perhaps the Scottish education system can again take its place as one of the best in the world!
Shona Leitch, Australia

As the father of a son awaiting his A-level results (under the English system) my heart goes out to the pupils and parents in Scotland who are having their hopes and aspirations put through the wringer because of massive bureaucratic incompetence.


Why the Scots, of all people, continue to put up with this style of government is beyond me

David K., England
Matters will never improve unless we stop making excuses for incompetence and demand - in this particular case - that the politicians are subject to summary dismissal.

They are all too keen to interfere, meddle, and change things to suit their dumbed-down view of the world, but inevitably fail to accept responsibility.

This is state socialism at its most typical. Why the Scots, of all people, continue to put up with this style of government is beyond me.
David K, England

Currently, I am taking a gap year in Australia and it is obviously a worrying time for me as the Highers farce battles on back home.

I have received my results through my mother who rang me on the 10th. They were, on the whole, pleasing and complied with the conditional offer of my first (and only) choice of university.

Being so far away from home and unable to seek all the answers to my questions I am greatly troubled and am starting to wonder the accuracy of the grades read out to me over the phone.

I am greatly unimpressed with the SQA with all the troubles it has caused and all the worries generated by their incompetence.

I was led to believe that Scottish education was, in some ways, better than that of the English but now find that very hard to believe. It is ironic that the English paper set out to brag about education in Scotland.

If only I had known then my answers would have been completely the opposite.
James Ogilvy, Scotland

Having been one of the pupils that has had the misfortune of discovering results below the expectations of myself, my peers and teachers, I am now forced with the possibility that if the inaccurate results are not cleared up then my chances of a career in the field of medicine may be in serious jeopardy.

This is I am sure a weight resting on the minds of many other young people as universities want five highers at As and Bs at the first sitting. If our results are messed up then we have to resit certain subjects.

This therefore means that we are not fulfilling university entry requirements through no fault of our own.

A lot of hard work and effort has gone into this year and into the preparation and study for these results.

If we are working and not receiving our deserved recognition then how can we place our faith into the education system.

I personally feel cheated and insulted by the SQA. Moreover, has eveyone forgotten about the maths Higher?
Mark Lee Kelly, Scotland

I feel I must agree with many of the comments already posted that the entire implementation of the Higher Still scheme has been unacceptable.

The problems initially arose for pupils with the textbooks issued for the new courses. The Higher maths textbook we worked from this year was riddled with mistakes in both questions and answers, making it near impossible to work from.


I felt completely unprepared despite all the revision I had done for the exam

Anon., Scotland
In chemistry, the textbooks and a number of materials did not arrive until midway through the course and my art teachers were stretched to the very limit trying to organise a very complicated (almost incomprehensible) course.

It is, in fact, art and design that I wish to complain about. I feel that the rushing of the new Higher Still has severly disadvantaged me and my fellow pupils. We had to meet a lot of deadlines and complete a lot of (in my opinion) unecessary paperwork.

This not only wasted class time but confused both teachers and pupils. I found, when I sat the written exam, that my art teachers had not taught us everything we were required to know.

For example, I had been told to study two artists from the impressionist movement and was asked, in the exam, to compare two artists from different periods.

I felt completely unprepared despite all the revision I had done for the exam. I think this is the fault of the exam board for not specifying to teachers what was required to be learnt.

I received my results on thursday and was horrified to learn that I had received a C for art. This has put my future career plans (I had been hoping to go to art school) out of reach for me and has been made harder for me to accept when I learnt that one pupil, who traced all of their research, was awarded a B.
Anon, Scotland

My sympathy is firstly with the candidates. Is Ron Tuck to be the scapegoat for Sam Galbraith? When is Galbraith going to admit that he failed to listen to schools and the SQA about suspected problems?

When is Galbraith going to apologise to all the HTs, DHTs, AHTs, PTs, APTs, STs and ATs who have worked so hard to make Higher Still work and repeatedly pestered the SQA for reassurance and who told their candidates to focus on the work and all would be well?

These are the people who have to face these pupils this week, not Galbraith. It is time he resigned.
Cari, Scotland

Shambles, frustrating, ridiculous, unforgivable. Just a few words that have been used to describe the current situation with the Higher Still fiasco. With nobody sure what the situation is, I believe the time has come for the SQA to rip everything up and start again.
R.G Scotland

Sunday. No results. What a dismal weekend I've had. I never get worked up/stressed about exams, but this just threw me.
Phill M, Scotland

The whole Higher Still fiasco was inevitable.

We were told at a HS seminar that the problems were caused by the SQA not expecting all schools to implement the new courses at the same time, but "with their usual enthusiasm" teachers jumped right in.

They might have told the local authorities, many, including us in North Ayrshire, were forced by three line whip to implement the new courses this past session, even if materials had not arrived in school.

At earlier Higher Still meetings we were told that specifications for the courses would be put out in Word format.

This was a tad inconvenient as I run a RiscOS computer, but I spent a good chunk of my dept requisition on a WP which would accept Word files.

When the CDRoms came out, I could only find pdf formatted files.

I emailed the SQA complaining about this and was told: "Pdf files are editable in any competent word-processing package," which is not true, because that would be defeating the purpose of pdf.

The worrying thing about this was that the email came from their chief computer wallah, who should have known better!

They also said we were never told that you would receive materials in Word format.

I checked back in my course notes, and found this info was hand-written, so it was possible I was wrong.

However, one of my colleagues is a Higher Still trainer, and it is clearly officially printed in the HS trainers' manual that materials would be distributed in Word.

The email was closed with the words "...so you should have no more problems", presumably meaning, "Don't bother us again."

I also noticed that the RMPS part of the HS website was at one time over 18 months and at least one revision out of date.

The only consolation was that it was dated, so we knew not to rely on it.

We were shopped down the river on this by an unholy alliance of politicians and unions, who yet again have let us, and our pupils, down.
E.L. Watt, Scotland

I'm not at all surprised that the SQA royally screwed up (putting it politely) this year. I sat my Highers and SYS exams during the two years just gone and during that time I tried to appeal against my first set of Higher results - and then heard nothing of it!

Then last year I received my SYS results and was shocked to find that I had gained only C C when I was predicted A B! I then found out that the deputy headmaster at my school may have put me forward for the wrong exam papers in SYS English.

Since I was the only person from the school sitting this subject on the days of the different papers I only sat the ones I had been told I would sit. Then after I reappeared from a DofE expedition I was told that my name was called out for an English paper I wasn't supposed to sit.

Again I tried to appeal but since then have heard nothing of it even after several letters to both the school and the SQA.

Maybe the organisations which pupils are meant to trust with their educational needs should actually tell the pupils what is happening. I am personally extremely annoyed with the SQA for sending me two letters telling me that the exams I sat had nothing to do with them (yet they had SQA written on the form and they were Highers and CSYS) and then ignoring several more letters.

If I knew how to go about it and had the money I would seriously contemplate taking legal action against not only the SQA but my school as well - I'm sure that shows you how much trust I have in the Scottish education system.
I Watt, Scotland

On a related matter, the National Testing Center which processes high school proficiency exams has completely dropped the ball in Minnesota. Thousands of students, who otherwise passed, were forced to take summer classes. Hundreds of others were refused their diploma and were subsequently unable to apply for fall admission to a university.

In both cases, there is simply no easy way to compensate students for the additional stress and far reaching implications this has on their future.
Matthew Carroll, United States

I am a pupil at Balfron High School, who sat the Craft & Design Higher exam, which myself and the rest of my classmates found the layout to be very different from papers we had been set in the run-up to the exams and the prelim.

There was also a question which neither myself nor my teacher had heard of. On opening my envelope on Thursday morning, I discovered to my horror that from two As and a B prelim result, I had been awarded a B and two Cs.
Duncan McEwen, Scotland

It is an outrage! They should have said that the exam results were ALL going to be a week or so late rather than this fiasco!
Kirsty A Murphie, Scotland

On the day of receiving the exam results I was so confused with the results which my daughter received I sent the following email to the SQA; "I appreciate that you will be dealing with hundreds of enquiries regarding the results issued today.

"I understand from reading various news items and from speaking to some candidates that some results are missing from the issued sheets and in some cases there has been a delay issuing results sheets.

"In the case of my daughter the results have left me quite baffled. For some years now she has studied music independent of school and at examinations held at Glasgow University and has consistently obtained marks in the high nineties. Her results in SQA show a C.

"Other results are of concern, eg English, where teachers have in the past expressed concern and a B is obtained.

"My concern is that having heard of complications with computer printouts etc. that some mistake has been made in the printout of this candidate's results, and would respectfully request confirmation that such a mistake cannot happen."

I then received the following reply from SQA: "I have checked with Angela's candidate records, and I can confirm that she has achieved a C for Higher Music, and a B for Higher English. The problems we have experienced have not been to do with marking or final results - they have been with collating results.

"If Angela feels that her Music result does not reflect her performance over the year as a whole, I would advise her to go to her centre as soon as possible and discuss the appeals procedure."

In light of developments over the past two days (the resignation of SQA chief executive and Sam Galbraith's total refusal to confirm that all certificates are accurate) I am thoroughly convinced that my daughter's results are inaccurate. Do any of these people have even the slightest idea of the mental torture and distress caused to our children as a consequence of this fiasco?
John Nicol, Scotland

Sorry to read about the fiasco.

Console yourselves by the fact that whatever grades they may achieve in the usual topics, the Scottish are all Grade A+ whingers - this just gives them added practice.
William Sterling, United States

Sam Galbraith minimised the problems on BBC Scotland's news programmes on Wednesday. The key question is this, was he aware of the total chaos which was going to engulf the results on Thursday morning?

If he was aware why did he not "spill the beans" at that point and at least give advance warning of the ensuing shambles? If he was not aware, why was he not aware?

At the time of writing I have just heard of Ron Tuck's resignation. Good - he had to fall upon his sword. But what about Sam Galbraith? Is his integrity compromised? I think so.
Marj Adams, Scotland

I thankfully received complete Standard Grade results on Thursday morning. My results were as I expected, with the exception of English where I got a slightly disappointing grade for writing and reading. I am very happy with my results.

However, after I heard that wrong results were sent out this morning (Saturday) I didn't know whether I should believe my results or not. There has been a lot of media coverage about incomplete and erroneous Higher results, but I do not know whether I can trust the Standard Grade results or not.

I had a look at the SQA website. The only mention of this fiasco is a notice telling students who have not received certificates by this Monday to phone a number. I would have expected the SQA to use its website to make it clear what is happening and to tell us which results are affected.

We need to know our accurate Standard Grade results this week because when we return to school we will need to have made a final informed decision on what Highers to do. Any delay in releasing this information could result in a loss of teaching time in any subject we may change to.

I was also shocked to hear that there has been a shortage of markers who had less time to mark papers than usual. The SQA should have organised extra markers well in advance, as they must have foreseen that they would need more, as there was a shortage of time this year because of later exams.

In support of the chief executive of the SQA, Ron Tuck, I think he was very brave and did the right thing in accepting the blame for this calamity.

This fiasco follows the exceptionally difficult Credit Maths paper, which worried a lot of my year group.

While I am grateful I received my full results, which appear to be accurate, I have to sympathise with all those who are still trying to find out what their results were.
Gordon Lawrence, Scotland

When I received my results on Thursday morning I was fearing the worst BCC or CCC but when I opened them and found CCD I was devastated. I thought that my life had ended I was gutted.

I just cried and cried but the next day when we went in to school we found that there were a number of people in the same boat.

My prelim grades were BBC and to drop from a B to a D was drastic.

Now my chance of doing sys is out of the question as I have to resit my exams I failed even though it is very unlikely I did.

I am not able to carry on with the courses I was going to do as I have not achieved the grades they were expecting and I will not find out if these are my real grades or just part of the fiasco and when I do it, it may be too late to change back to my intended courses. That means my plans for uni are severely altered.

I feel that the SQA are playing with our future and to let us start resiting things we might not need to is a complete farce! I think that it is our right as candidates to have our results delivered to us correctly!

These results have left me extremely confused as to how my future at school lies.
Caitlin Begley, Scotland

I was one of the people who failed to receive the dreaded brown envelope on Thursday and so decided to phone the SQA helpline to find out if I could get my results over the phone. I did and was elated when I found that I had A's for English, Geography and Physics; a B for maths and an incomplete music result which I presumed would be an A because it is my best subject.

My joy lasted until this Saturday morning when I finally received my certificate only to discover that the only A I had been awarded was for English.

I had Bs for Physics and Geography, and a C for maths - needless to say, I was a bit upset!

I phoned to check with the SQA and was told that my certificate was correct. Meanwhile, I heard that a friend who had failed all his prelims had somehow been awarded four A's and had only failed maths.

I wouldn't grudge him his grades, but it did make me wonder how on earth I ended up with mine when I was predicted to get straight As.
Laura McConnell, Scotland

It must be remembered that this is the latest in a long line of fiascos in the sorry history of Higher Still.

Throughout the year, we were reminded by teachers that the SQA had not completed the design of the courses (no doubt the reason for their poorly structured, incoherent and complicated nature).

This was not exactly the best confidence building measure, but the teachers were right to tell us it was true.

Then came the exams. Some were unexpectedly easy (e.g. Physics) and others were unexpectedly hard (maths in particular, though English was too).

But those were not the only surprises when it came to the exams - in many other papers, the difficulty, layout, structure and questions shared only the vaguest characteristics with the few practice papers the SQA had actually bothered to print! They left everyone stressed and apprehensive as to what would happen with the marking and distribution of the results.


I sank into deep regret and distress and I'm struggling to get out


Ali, Scotland
Which was just as well, as it reduced our shock when we heard what had happened next - problems with markers, incomplete results, missing results.

I come from Portobello High School, and I thought I had failed Higher English when I opened the envelope. As it turns out, everyone in my school has failed Higher English because the SQA lost part of our results!

Another friend of mine was awarded a Higher he didn't sit, and many people - myself included - who had been expecting 'A's in a number of exams (the dreaded maths one in particular) did not.

Nothing in this long and sorry tale has been done right - not even the certificates, which would need a rocket scientist to be deciphered.

If the buck stops with Ron Tuck - as he has already said - he should apologise and resign. If the buck stops with the government, Sam Galbraith and the real culprit, his predecessor Helen Liddell (who ordered the go-ahead in 1999), should also apologise, sort out the mess they have created and then resign.
Olivier Usher, Scotland

Well... recalling my student days in my adolescent years, I must confess it all depended on how I performed in the exams. If I performed well, I would be impatiently cursing the incompetence of the educational system. Of course if I didn't do so well, I would introspectively be thanking God.
Guru Shenoy, United States

Well, it's noon Saturday and I still have no brown envelope...
Des Elliott, Scotland

The delay and confusion over the distribution of exam results is perhaps masking a story of far more significance, which casts doubt on the validity of all results. I don't know if you are aware that the SQA found it almost impossible to raise markers for this years diet of exams.

This resulted in frenzied phonecalls to departments pleading for potential markers in the last week of term. I have heard that retired teachers with no experience of the current syllabus were drafted in an attempt to meet deadlines, I have a colleague who attempted to update a teacher who had been retired for 10 years and was about to mark Higher History papers!

As I have still not received notification of my own classes results I am not yet 100% sure of the impact of the above, however early signs are that my results are disastrous - my top pupil has scraped a C and many others have failed after producing excellent prelim. results, understandably these pupils are devastated and I have never felt so confused and helpless.

Our department has 50 years of teaching experience - we know what were doing. We don't expect everyone to gain A's but we know when things aren't as they should be.

Hopefully the appeals system will remedy some of these problems, but it is doubtful if the SQA have the resources to make a thorough job of this.

Ultimately the SQA are unaccountable, exam papers are never released, presumably because the glaring inadequacies of marking would be revealed if they were to be marked by others perhaps more attuned to the standards required. Incidentally this works both ways, I have had many pupils passing who could never have achieved the required standards!
Gordon Rennet Head of Modern Studies, formerly Head of Geography The High School of Dundee

Having spent the last year putting up with the new Higher still courses, which were forced on our teachers and ourselves in a half baked form, I feel I kept my side of a trusting relationship with SQA and gave full commitment to pass the exams they would set.

The first indication I had that all was not well was when I was presented with Maths Paper 1.

The type of questions were completely different from anything I had been prepared for but on discussion with teachers and fellow students, I was relieved to find they felt the same.

In fact the teachers were unable to offer a solution to some of the questions. Paper 2 seemed ok so I felt fairly confident of a result.

On the other hand I found the Physics exam fairly easy and gave a full answer to every question and, on discussion with others, felt that I could confidently expect an A pass.

To say I was disappointed when I opened my envelope would be quite an understatement as according to SQA. I had failed both. I have been given some hope for my planned university place with the admission that SQA. have got it wrong BIG TIME!

At this point I am completely in limbo as my school does not yet have the results so that they can take up my case. Bring back the old Highers and the people who administered them.
Ross Gee, Ayrshire

I would like to congratulate the SQA on a number of things.

One, for introducing Higher Still this year knowing that course materials were incomplete. What fun!

Second, their very considerate exam timetabling this year - Higher English and Art on the same day swiftly followed by THAT Higher Maths paper the next morning. Oh no, of course that wasn't stressful!

Third, not allowing anybody to forget about the true meaning of the 10th of August by having a crisis every other week since the exams - Have you ever heard of the summer holidays?

Four, blatantly lying to students and their stressed teachers for the entire year. Say no more.

Five, delivering the results on time! Have you got yours yet?

Six, generally making life very difficult for thousands of students across Scotland. Thanks guys, you know how much we love being guinea pigs!

Finally, after a sleepless night I was lucky enough to receive a brown envelope which gave me one of the worst shocks of my life and has placed me in severe doubt of my plans for the future. I sank into deep regret and distress and I'm struggling to get out.

How convenient for Sam Galbraith to be enjoying his holiday. Did he know something we didn't?
Ali, Scotland

I received my results on time and my grades were much higher than I had expected. At first I was very pleased and told myself I had done a lot better than I had given myself credit for. With this fiasco about reissuing all certificates, how can I trust the certificate I received? The SQA has serious problems if this situation leads to the reissuing of all certificates.
Hazel Black, Scotland

I am emailing you to tell you about my situation about my exam results. To start off with, on Thursday morning I didn't get my results, after my brother got his through the post.

Being extremely anxious about them I phoned up three of my friends, not one of them had received their results.

I then decided to phone the school, they could not help me because they had not received the exam results either.

One of my friends then contacted me saying he got his results over the phone with the helpline.

This prompted me to phone the helpline, (which I wasted a considerable part of my day doing). The person who talked to me refused to give me my results over the phone.

I asked for a supervisor who eventually gave me my results, a "C" for my SYS and a "C" & "B" for my Highers.

I have to admit I was fairly disappointed at this especially with the two C's.

It seems to me that the people on the other side of the phone had different rules for some people than others.

This morning I opened up my late envelope only to discover that my biology higher was actually a B instead of a C.

I feel so stupid taking the word of the people on the other side of the phone. I am now hearing that some of the results are false.

Even though I've been guaranteed a place at university, I feel for a lot of my friends who are relying on these results for the future of their lives.
Roald Oines, Helensburgh

Don't worry people, with exams so easy nowadays, just assume that you have got top grades.
Chris, West Berks, England

Thought you might like to know that despite SQA's promises on Thursday night that all certificates had now been posted and Royal Mail's promise to deliver them as a matter of urgency, my daughter's Standard Grade certificate has not yet arrived (Saturday's post. Nor have any of her fiends', at Charleston Academy in Inverness).
William McGilvery, Scotland

I received my results on time and in complete form, but I now find myself hesitant in trusting their accuracy.

I can only imagine what those who haven't got their results are feeling right now.

Furthermore, the new certificates appear to be a shambles- for example on my certificate it states that I have an A for Higher Computing, yet in the Core Skills section, it states I have an Intermediate 2 award for "Using Information Technology", which doesn't seem to make sense!
Martin Dunne, Scotland

The problems of late delivery of certificates, incorrect and incomplete certificates should not be allowed to cover up another important aspect of the SQA' s shambolic performance.

I refer of course to the totally unfair Mathematics Higher Still Paper 1.

The SQA's spin doctors have tried to tell us that this was an urban myth, but it was real and it did happen. How do the pass rates for the new Higher Still compare with last year's results?

I am probably being unfair on Mr Tuck and his colleagues.

How can they possibly produce these statistics when our young people cannot even find out whether they have passed or failed, or even if they can trust the results which have been received?
William Bennett, Scotland

Sam Galbraith must be held accountable for the trauma the SQA "results" have had on so many pupils.

They are not yet adults and believed in the promises made.

He has let them down and teachers who have tried for months to reassure candidates and parents.

Is it true that Ron Tuck wanted Higher Still phased in to avoid this disgrace?
Teacher, parent and tutor, Scotland

The whole situation this year of exam results is diabolical!

I did receive my results on time and found I had got three As and so I would have secured a place at university.

However, now I don't know if I can trust the results!
Sharon, Scotland

Everyone is complaining about a complicated new certificate - I don't really mind I just want my results!

My sister received hers yesterday when we were all supposed to get them. I was quite disappointed, I mean lots of hard work and I can't receive my results on the right day.

I thought I would definitely get them today (Friday) but didn't so I rang the SQA and got my results, however am I supposed to trust them or not?
Gemma, Scotland

There has been a surprising lack of comment from the EIS, SSTA, NAS/UWT on this matter. They say in the computer world "garbage in - garbage out".

Could it be that staff in schools, colleges etc. have caused the present problems by not supplying accurate information?
Len Henderson, UK

Friday 1530 - and still no results. As customers of the education system, our children - who are being assessed on core skills - are being let down on those very skills by the guardians of these standards.


I was asked questions about the size of our letterbox!

Ann, Scotland
I gather from the school that the e-mail file of results sent through by the SQA this morning is in a format that most school PCs cannot read! The helpline remains, as yesterday, permanently engaged.

We may be rightly criticising SQA but Royal Mail has not helped. Yesterday I was advised by their National Customer Service Centre (dare I say re-routed to an English office) they needed the date, time of posting and location of the post-box before they could help and suggested I rang back in seven days.

Second call to an Edinburgh number advised they were aware of no problems with exam results delivery and I was asked questions about the size of our letterbox!

Today the sorting office say they received no certificates from SQA but my son and all his friends round about are still waiting. All the boys want now are the facts and an honest estimate of when they will get their results
Ann , Scotland

I received my certificate on time, gaining some of the results needed for my degree course, however now I find myself mistrusting these results.

The minister for education says that this is "a bit of a mess" and that it should never happen again. Does he not understand that this affects more than his job, that it actually affects our entire lives?
David Hall, Scotland

My son has not yet received his certificates (Friday 2.40pm). I rang SQA this morning - who gave me four out of five results (A.B,C and one fail), saying more info was needed from the school for the fifth.

Meanwhile my son went to the school - told the results were three As, one B and one C. (School assured all info had been sent).

I really don't know who to believe ... well I do actually, I have far more confidence in the school. Meanwhile, no certificates, no idea what the scenario really is.

This is surely institutionalised torture. Even when the results are confirmed officially - do you really think we will be comfortable with them?
Deirdre Kelly, Glasgow

For this many certificates to go missing or be incomplete is inexcusable and from comments above it seems as if the SQA website and helpline has been giving out false information.


I do wonder about those teenagers described as being in floods of tears, or feeling highly stressed at the situation. I mean come on, it's only a certificate.

Stuart, Scotland
Fiasco is the only word to describe what's been going on.

I sat my Highers a few years ago and have now graduated from university.

I do wonder about those teenagers described as being in floods of tears, or feeling highly stressed at the situation. I mean come on, it's only a certificate.

In a few years time no employer will even care what was on it. There's nothing you can do about it now so why worry.

The results will come through eventually and whether they are late or not should make no difference in getting into university or college or whatever you want to do next.

The day my results came through I annoyed my mum by leaving them unopened on the kitchen table until she couldn't stand the suspense any more and made me open it.

I think I only know one person who ever got a nasty surprise in a brown envelope. Most people end up with roughly what they've been expecting for months.
Stuart, Scotland

My daughter's certificate did not arrive yesterday but my wife and I separately contacted the SQA helpline and were told she had an A in all of her subjects.

We told our daughter of the result. Today the real results arrived and she had 2-A, 2-B and 1C.

The people at the call centre had both made the same mistake confusing Highers with Higher Still results.

We have apologies from the SQA however this will never make up for the agony of a teenager who has told her peers about her results and then has to go back and say she got it wrong.

Administrative errors and delays are bad enough but this is cruelty.
Sandy Thomson, Scotland

There are so many people complaining about the certificates being late but personally I would have preferred having them late if the SQA had bothered to get them right by delaying them.

I'm from Portobello High School and one of my Highers last year was English. Personally I have still to receive my certificate but all my friends who sat Higher English have been told they have not been awarded Higher English as they have not completed all the unit assessments. They have.

How could the SQA possibly believe that an entire school could have failed Higher English. They should have recognised the problem and sorted it before sending the certificates out.

Sending these certificates incomplete like this has only caused panic in many of my friends who thought they had failed English.

So what's going to be done about it?
Russell Kemp, Scotland

I have attended Aberdeen College for the past year and the culmination of this should have been yesterday in receiving my exam results.

It is now Friday morning and STILL no results. I am appalled by the SQA's inefficiency and lack of management. Do these people realise what stress and angst a person is under whilst waiting for that brown envelope.

I hope jobs will be lost at a high level for this farcical performance.
Brian Creegan, Scotland

As a higher student from Fife, I have still not received my certificate through the post - even Mr Tuck promised that all students would receive their results today (Friday).

After phoning the post office I was told that many certificates have still not been sent and that the Cupar post office received no certificates today.

I thought that this may interest you since Ron Tuck (chief executive SQA) said that every pupil should receive their results by today.
Gordon Wilson, Fife

It took two hours to get through to the SQA to find out why my son had not received his results. They said that one assessment element of his Higher physics had not been received from the school however they had only contacted the school to get it yesterday!

Although he was given the results over the phone they could not tell him when his exam certificate will be available.

The Scottish Executive should learn to listen when they are told that things are not ready and I hope they will hang their heads in shame over this debacle.

The only light in all this has been BBC Scotland who have kept us informed and up to date with everything that has happened. Well done.
Margaret Young, Scotland

I didn't receive my results which I feel very let down by and when I phoned they could not give me all of them!
Linsay Philip

I have been left in the lurch, which happened last year with my Scotvec modules, which I still have not received.
Sarah Jane Burns, Scotland

I and a great many teachers I know were extremely surprised when Ron Tuck (chief executive, SQA) said that he was under no pressure to implement Higher Still but was carried along by the enthusiasm of the educational community.

Mr Tuck is being "economical with the truth" and must only listen to an extremely small part of the educational community.

The vast majority of teachers were against the timescale for the changes involved in Higher Still and warned there would be problems.

Furthermore as a marker, I and many others are still awaiting payment for marking the exams.
Ally McGuigan, Scotland

I think that this is just further adding to the shame the SQA has brought onto itself this year. After even allowing a maths exam like that through, not sending out the right results is just pure stupidity. Nice one boys.
Elgin Academy pupil, Scotland

My daughter received two identical sets of results, as did two of her friends. Fiasco. The certificate itself is difficult to understand.
M Broadfoot, Scotland

Ah, the good old SQA. Haven't they been an absolute riot since the start of the year?

This "organisation" should be on TV or whatever nonsense they must be watching instead of getting our results out.

The new course that demanded pupils to work all year round, the stress teachers had. The guidance teachers that themselves called it an "absolute shambles ". Does the SQA get funnier?

Well, if my results arrive on Friday, they had better not have any spaces or gaps in them. It will just further fuel the humour of the SQA.
Des Elliott, Scotland

Surprisingly the SQA forum (on its website) has been temporarily closed down. No wonder!


My daughter has been in floods of tears several times

Angela
I am convinced that the scale of inefficiency has been grossly underexaggerated as the problem has affected my daughter as well as the vast majority of her friends - and we live within a mile of the SQA premises!

I can only offer my sympathy to all candidates who have had to endure this totally unacceptable situation - my daughter has been in floods of tears several times throughout the day and I am sure she is not the only one.

To say that the situation will not be repeated cannot repair the damage which has already been done to all those candidates who have not received results - SOMETHING SHOULD BE DONE.
Angela, Scotland

Much as it's a shame for students who haven't got their results yet, I think that the idea that this is a "fiasco" is a bit overblown.

Let's remember that teachers, schools, government and SQA have delivered one of the biggest shake ups in cirriculum and exams in Scottish education's history.

And we're the first country in the world to have certificates giving a complete record of achievement.

I think we should all be very proud of the students, teachers, schools, colleges and local and central government who have done this, instead of focusing on a tiny minority of problems.
Katy, Scotland

After not receiving my exam results this morning, I found myself in the same position as many of my peers.

According to the SQA, 2,248 exam certificates were sent out only today.

I wish to ask BBC Scotland to research the geographical location in Scotland where these certificates are headed.

I would think that a fair percentage of these results will be headed to Moray, Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City.

Does the distance from Dalkeith to these areas have any bearing on the postponed delivery of our certificates?
Lisa McGhee, Scotland

It's a rotten thing to do to the students.
Judith, Scotland

The comments on this page simply reflect what teachers on the ground have been saying for months.

The whole process has been beset with foul-ups; from lists of candidates being wrong, to insufficient copies of exams arriving in schools; to markers not getting material on time... I could go on.

The process of certification has now become so cumbersome that it is inevitable that this sort of fiasco will take place.
Andrew A Morton, Scotland

I was very upset today when I never got mine in the post. All of my friends have theirs and it's not fair that some of us have to wait.
Rosemary Ross, Scotland

I am well and truly fed up with the SQA. I am one of the unfortunate people who didn't receive their exam results today.

So, after finding that there was no brown envelope in the post, I phoned the SQA. They told me that they may come out tomorrow or maybe next week but they aren't too sure when.


How on earth am I supposed to trust the SQA? As you can probably tell I am not too happy

Andrew Edward
Anyway, they did say that the school had the results so I could try there - they didn't.

Or I could try the post office, except it shut at half past one and it was already too late .

How on earth am I supposed to trust the SQA? As you can probably tell I am not too happy!
Andrew Edward

Teachers in Scotland have had a huge fight to deliver new courses this year and they did! And in some cases under government pressure.

Now the thanks we get is they cannot deliver results.

Teachers warned of the problems of rapid change and now we find the non-teaching officials cannot even get their admin correct.

Maybe it's time education and government officials had a league table of their performance.
Stuart McRoberts, Scotland

Thursday, 10th of August at 5.35pm and I've still to get my exam results. This has been the case with ALL of my friends at Thurso High School!
Greg Humphries, Scotland

I received my results today. First thing I noticed I had received TWO identical sets of results, which I find is unfair as some didn't get theirs at all and I know how stressing it is.


How are we supposed to know if we have received an incomplete certificate?

Jacqueline McFadden
Then I noticed that I haven't officially passed one of my Higher Still exams because the SQA haven't received one of the units so I don't know if I passed or failed it.

Also, another of the Higher Stills I did is not on the certificate at all, so I don't know if I have passed or failed that too.

So officially I have only three out of the five Highers that I sat, which to me is very frustrating, disappointing and I am very annoyed.

How are we supposed to know if we have received an incomplete certificate.

To make things doubly worse the new certificates are very hard to follow and even have instructions with them on how to follow them.

What happened to the simple certificate I received last year for my Standard Grades simply telling me what exams I sat and what I got for them?
Jacqueline McFadden, Scotland

This morning I received my Standard Grade results. However a number of my friends have received either incomplete results or none at all. In my opinion the SQA should not have allowed this shambles of an operation to happen.
C Johnston, Scotland

My daughter Natalie phoned from a pay phone on the remote island of St Kilda this morning only to find she is one of the many whose results have not arrived. She is currently aboard the tall ship Stavros S Niarchos sailing around Scotland. Maybe tomorrow....!
Ken Ford, Scotland

This is an utter piece of nonsense. We finished exams for the SQA over two months ago and also music practicals which were completed in March.

Now, on the day we were suppose to receive our results we're still left waiting. How much time do they need?

We live in the Easter Road area of Edinburgh and friends at the top and bottom of Easter Road have received their results and we live in the middle and haven't got ours yet. What's going on?

Also, when contacting our school they had no information to give us as they haven't received our results either.
Gemma and Jennifer, Edinburgh, Scotland

The majority of my friends like myself are still waiting for Higher results. In this day of modern technology - this is a disgrace.
Sarah Johnston, Renfrewshire

What a waste of time. They thought it would be a good idea to start up Higher Still. Yeah, that worked!

Thousands of students throughout Scotland are sitting at home trying to figure out if they have passed or not, worrying about college and uni placements.

Thanks to the SQA some people might miss out on a placement into their chosen course. They obviously don't have a clue about what they are doing.

It's bad enough the stress teenagers go through sitting their exams, but now thanks to the SQA teenagers have to endure the stress of waiting for their results as well.
Jennifer Taylor, Scotland

My daughter received her Standard Grade results this morning. Great! We thought.


My daughter is confused and dismayed to say the least

Lorna Miller
All ones and twos. However, her French result is not on the certificate. Having done all the elements ie. reading, speaking, writing and listening with good passes in the first threhree(three, one and two grades respectively) nowhere is her listening grade listed and no-one can tell her why.

Since she sat the general/credit paper, she must have got something for her efforts. All she was told by the helpline was that she must have failed it!

But surely even that would have been highlighted and a grade of some description given?

Obviously, my daughter is confused and dismayed to say the least.
Lorna Miller, Scotland


The SQA website said this morning that the certificates had all been successfully delivered. From the evidence that I have seen this is a total lie.

Jenny Cowper
I have not received my exam results yet and nobody seems to know when they will arrive or why they have been delayed.

The media doesn't seem to be aware that so many people have not received their results at all. I keep hearing about people that have received incomplete certificates but I would rather have an incomplete certificate than none at all.

The majority of people that I have spoken to from my school have not yet received their results.

I have contacted my school but they do not have the results either. I have tried phoning various helplines but I have not been able to get through.

The SQA website said this morning that the certificates had all been successfully delivered. From the evidence that I have seen this is a total lie.
Jenny Cowper, Scotland


My friends are all out celebrating tonight, I will still go with them but I still have days of expectation and worrying ahead of me

Matthew Browell-Hook
Due to an increasingly frustrating morning I needed to share with someone my growing annoyance.

I am a school leaver, having just completed sixth year at Aberdeen Grammar School. I ideally want to study mechanical engineering at Edinburgh University.

However having messed up fifth year my results were not particularly good! Therefore, I see this year as my last chance and the pressure has been high throughout and as is for everyone this week has been incredibly tense.

All the pressure and expectations were heaped on the arrival of the postman this morning and that I would finally know my fate good or bad.

But I received nothing this morning, not even an explanation letter explaining what was going on.

My confusion was increased by phone calls from my friend who are all in the same year at the same school as me all of whom had received their results in full. 

Myself and my sister have been trying all morning to get some information about the situation.

All the obvious web sites and word searches revealed nothing until we found BBC Online.  The number given for SQA is constantly engaged, without even a recorded message. 

My school (Aberdeen Grammar School) had not been given any information either apart from that Standard Grades would be sent tomorrow.

I realise that technical hitches happen but considering the enormity and importance that these results have on me and my peers' futures

I think that a national organisation such as SQA could have managed to produce all the results a the same time, or withheld all results and realised them together.  At least we should have received notification of the delay which would have saved me at least a sleepless night.

I am still confused about the situation and am especially worried about clearing.

My friends are all out celebrating tonight, I will still go with them but I still have days of expectation and worrying ahead of me, this time without the collective support of my mates
Matthew Browell-Hook, Aberdeen

  I come from Nairn, in the Highlands. None of my friends has received results from Higher or Standard grade exams. They have refused to give results over the telephone. Post Office staff are pulling their hair out. We have been guinea pigs from th

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10 Aug 00 | Scotland
Brown letter day for pupils
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After the results, where now?
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