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EDITIONS
Monday, 13 August, 2001, 15:43 GMT 16:43 UK
Scottish results arrive early
Certificate
About 200 students received results on Monday
Scores of Scottish students have received their exam results a day ahead of the official date for their delivery.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority said about 200 candidates in outlying areas of the country had received their results on Monday.

It has put the early delivery down to "over-enthusiasm" by Royal Mail - a claim the postal service has denied.

At a media briefing before the publication of results, the SQA said the final number of exam cases with a question mark hanging over them stood at 1,350.

Bill Morton
Mr Morton pointed to over-enthusiasm

The SQA has been under intense scrutiny over the 2001 exams following last year's disaster when thousands of students' results were incomplete or inaccurate.

In a News Online Scotland webcast on Sunday, SQA chief executive Bill Morton sought to reassure students that the vast majority of results would be delivered on 14 August and would be accurate.

However, he did point out that some results might not arrive on the set date because of possible inconsistencies in the postal service.

Regarding the early arrival of some results, Mr Morton said: "It would appear that due to the benign over-enthusiasm of a sorting office, some candidates have received their results one day early.

More exams

"That is something the Royal Mail are aware of and it is unfortunate. I don't think it should give rise to any speculation about the integrity of the process.

"The vagary of the mail system is nothing to do with the process."

A spokesman for Royal Mail denied that the early delivery of results was down to the "over-enthusiasm" of sorting office staff.

Sorting office
Royal Mail denied the SQA claim

He said that the SQA had posted a number of certificates earlier than had been agreed with the Royal Mail.

He said that the "initiative" of Royal Mail staff had ensured that 50 of the SQA's prematurely sent items had been retrieved and held back until Tuesday.

However, the spokesman said that because the SQA had jumped the gun the remaining envelopes had already been delivered.

Scottish results are all dispatched at the same - regardless of the level - unlike England, which means it is hard to tell what results pupils may have received on Monday.

News about the advance delivery of some results came as the SQA delivered its progress report on this year's exam season.

The body insisted that, despite a rise in the number of exams, certificates would be accurate in most cases.

A spokesman said:

  • 135,000 candidates are awaiting results from 732,000 courses

  • Of these, checks are still required in 458 school student cases and 903 college-based cases

  • In the case of the school students, there are checks to be made on results information and assessment information

  • In the case of the college-based candidates, many of the results are not due to be posted out until the end of August

A spokesman said that checks are only being made on these cases because they are "potentially out of line".

He said the checks did not necessarily indicate the results are inaccurate and that no change is likely to be made in about 60% of cases.

'Immense improvement'

At the briefing it was revealed that this year all papers had been marked on time, all meetings had been completed on time and all volume processing had been completed on time.

SQA chairman John Ward said the body's own success rate of 99.7% so far in managing the process compared to an equivalent figure of 88% last year.

He said: "That is an immense improvement, with 4.25m exam papers, to get to that level.

"Measures introduced this year will ensure that certificates not only arrive on time but also reflect accurately the work that individual candidates have put in throughout the year."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Andrew Cassell
"The SQA says this time the process is on track"
BBC Scotland education reporter Martha Fairlie
"About 1,300 candidates will find that they do not have their complete results"

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Changes imposed

Last year's problems

Background:

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Go to BBC Student EssentialsExam results?
Essential advice and information for students
See also:

12 Aug 01 | Scotland
10 Aug 01 | Scotland
09 Aug 01 | UK Education
03 Aug 01 | Scotland
21 May 01 | UK Education
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