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Tuesday, 7 November, 2000, 16:19 GMT
Employers offered exams brief
Bill Morton graphic
Bill Morton: "Young people should not be penalised"
The Scottish Qualifications Authority is offering to meet business leaders over fears that firms are disregarding exam results.

The move by interim chief executive Bill Morton follows revelations that Scottish Widows has decided not to consider the new Higher Still exams when taking on new recruits.

Thousands of Scottish school pupils were given late, incomplete or incorrect results this summer after administrative problems at the SQA.

Education Minister Jack McConnell has already accepted the resignation of SQA chairman David Miller, while the future of the organisation's board is under review.

Pupils listen
Pupils received late, incorrect or incomplete results
Mr Morton said he would be happy to brief employers on the scale and nature of this year's problems, and the steps being taken to resolve them.

"I need to understand more fully the reasons for Scottish Widows' decision, but if it is in any way connected to the SQA's failings this summer, I think it is very important that young people are not unfairly penalised.

"I would very much like to meet business organisations and any individual companies who may have concerns so that fears over the credibility of this summer's Higher Still exam results can be allayed," he said.

Appealing for the problems to be kept in perspective, Mr Morton said fewer than 3% of all results were affected by incomplete or inaccurate data.

These, he said, were identified by re-checking and each case was resolved.

Ability tests

"Whilst we fully accept that the administration surrounding the 2000 exam diet fell well short of the standards I expect, it is unfair and inaccurate to suggest that the exam results young people now have are anything other than accurate."

Scottish Widows said it had decided earlier in the year - before the results fiasco became apparent - to "disregard" the new Higher Still system until it had a better understanding of its value.

The insurer said it had done likewise when O Grades were replaced by Standard Grades.

In a statement, the company said: "Scottish Widows recruits on the basis of Highers or Standard Grades, and that dictates whether school leavers sit ability tests prior to selection for interview.

"Academic qualifications are only one aspect of the recruitment process."


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07 Nov 00 | Scotland
01 Nov 00 | Scotland
15 Oct 00 | Scotland
06 Oct 00 | Scotland
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