Ballantyne questions SQA Chief Executive on new qualifications

Michelle Ballantyne has questioned SQA Chief Executive Janet Brown during today's Education and Skills Committee on the extent of SQA's engagement with employers. 

Mrs Ballantyne commented that there was "a lot of confusion" among some businesses, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises, over the National 4 and National 5 qualifications as employers are unsure about the content and quality of the new exams. 

She went on to add "A lot of employers are telling me that they are going to devise their own assessments when they are trying to recruit people because they really don’t understand it any more. So what are you doing about that?”

Ms Brown assured the committee that SQA had engaged with businesses while developing the controversial qualifications, however she admitted that through recent SQA research "a significant proportion" of teachers believed the courses should include external assessment, and in some cases, exams too. 

Michelle Ballantyne MSP went on to describe the implementation of the new qualifications as "a false start" and asked if SQA were considering a move away from their current position. Ms Brown commented that SQA "would need to go away and have a fresh discussion about that". 

National 4s were introduced in 2013 as part of the Curriculum for Excellence along with National 5s to replace the old Standard Grade courses.