SQA Post Results Service Policy and Procedures

National Qualifications Post-Results Service
East Lothian Council Policy and Procedure

This policy reflects the guidance offered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) in the document National Qualifications Post-results Services: Information for Centres (revised June 2018). The policy also takes account of the ADES (Association of Directors of Education in Scotland) Advice Paper on SQA Results Service, June 2015. A copy of these documents is held by each school’s SQA Co-ordinator.

1 - National Qualifications Post-Results Service

The Post-Results Service can be used when a school has concerns about a candidate’s final certificated grade. Three services are available to schools:

Clerical Check – This is an administrative check to ensure that:

  • all parts of the candidate’s submission have been marked;
  • the marks given for each answer have been totalled correctly;
  • the correct result has been entered on SQA’s software.

The majority of subjects involve one or more components where marks are totalled and recorded electronically (e-marking). A clerical check is not appropriate in these cases.

Marking Review – This is undertaken by examiners and involves consideration of a candidate’s materials submitted to SQA for marking to ensure that:

  • all parts of the submission have been marked;
  • the marking is in line with the national standard;
  • the marks given for each answer have been totalled correctly;
  • the correct result has been entered on SQA’s software.

Priority Marking Review – This is the same as a Marking Review but it is scrutinised more quickly. It is for candidates whose current university/college offer is conditional on a particular grade.  

The check/review can lead to the candidate’s grade going up, remaining unchanged or going down. Therefore, the school must receive consent from the candidate before submitting a request; this may be written (including email or text) or a record of a verbal discussion. The school must hold a record of candidate consent until December of the same year.

If the grade is amended as a result of a check/review, then SQA will issue a new certificate to the candidate in November of that year.

2 - Criteria for Post-Results Clerical Check or Marking Review

The school will submit a Post-results Service request only under the following criterion:

  • the candidate’s certificated grade is markedly at odds with the totality of assessment evidence gathered during the year and is out of line with the performance of other candidates with similar profiles.

In general, the school will submit a request when the assessment evidence is consistent and points to an award at least two bands above the final award.

The school will not consider a Post-results Service request when one or more of the following apply:

  • the candidate’s certificated grade is in line with, or exceeds, the estimate previously submitted to SQA by the school;
  • the certificated award is within the same grade as that predicted by the assessment evidence held by the school (e.g. the school estimate was a grade B, band 3; the candidate achieves grade B, band 4);
  • the candidate’s performance has shown inconsistencies during the year such that the final award falls within the range of performance evidenced; 
  • a disparity between estimates submitted by the school and actual candidate achievement for a class group indicates that the school was unrealistic in determining estimates to meet national standards determined by SQA;
  • a candidate’s certificated grade is near a grade boundary (proximity to a grade boundary is not an appropriate criterion for submitting a Post-results Service request, though it may be taken into account where the submission criterion above has been satisfied);
  • the candidate has been through the Exceptional Circumstances Consideration Service.

3 - Evidence Required for Post-Results Service Submission and Estimate Grades

For any Post-results Service request submitted, there will be clear and compelling evidence that there is a reasonable possibility an error may have occurred with the marking or totalling of marks which has resulted in the wrong grade being awarded. This clear and compelling evidence will come from all aspects of assessment, covering all elements of the course. Such assessment might include class tests, coursework and prelim examination.

This evidence from across all aspects of assessment will have formed the basis of the estimate grade submitted by the school to the SQA at the end of March in the year of examination. Estimates must be based on robust evidence and should be generated in a clear and equitable manner. Accuracy of estimates is important in supporting the Head Teacher to come to a decision regarding whether a Post-results Service request should be submitted.

There is no consideration of ‘alternative evidence’ with this service. It is based solely on a review of the candidate’s original materials which were marked by SQA.

4 - Submission of Post-Results Service Requests

Only the school can submit a request to the SQA, and only on the basis of assessment evidence. Decisions about eligibility for the Post-results Service will be taken by the Head Teacher, in consultation with the relevant Principal Teacher and the school’s SQA coordinator.  

Requests on compassionate grounds is covered by the Pre-results Service i.e. Exceptional Circumstances.  Requests where parents offer to pay costs will not be submitted.