Would you rather take an exam or be given a grade?


13th August 2020

THE drawings of a young artist went viral after he “thanked” his exam board for a lower than expected mark in art and design.

Sean Robertson from Aberdeen posted a message on Twitter to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), including some of his drawings (right). He was unhappy with the grade and wrote a sarcastic message: “Cheers for the C in art”.

Sean’s disappointment was at the start of a growing protest that led to the SQA being told on Tuesday to issue new grades.

The exam board first sent grades to more than 130,000 teenagers last week. It was a results day with a difference because the exams had been cancelled because of the coronavirus. Marks were based on mock exams, coursework and what teachers thought was the right grade. But the SQA changed around 125,000 grades estimated by teachers, after looking at how schools had performed in earlier years.

It turned out this meant that pupils in the poorest areas of Scotland had their grades marked down by more than twice that of students living in the wealthiest parts of the country.

Sean told First News: “I understand marking exams that didn’t happen must be hard but that’s why our teachers gave them predicted grades, hence why everyone’s so confused about why they decided to play around with it themselves.”

Sean and other students were listened to by John Swinney, Scotland’s Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary. He said sorry and that he understood why it had “left a feeling of unfairness in the minds of young people”.

He confirmed that all downgraded awards would be withdrawn and that he had told the SQA to issue new grades based only on teacher estimates.

Sean, 18, was given the “C” in his art Higher, a Scottish exam equivalent to A levels. As First News went to press, he was waiting to hear what his new grade would be.

Meanwhile, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, hundreds of thousands of students were expecting their A level and BTEC results yesterday (Thursday). And, next Thursday (20 August), the GCSE marks are due to be announced. As there were no exams, the grades are being decided in much the same way as in Scotland.

Would you rather take an exam or be given a grade?


Leave a Reply

dcfan · 1 year ago

Everyone who has voted so far would rather take an exam. I said this too, as I actually like tests.

catheaven · 1 year ago

I'd rather take an exam. Some teachers are soft, therefore they will give you a good grade, and vice versa

catheaven · 1 year ago

First to comment!!!! 😜

coolcat65 · 1 year ago


coolcat65 · 1 year ago

#First one to post comment

coolcat65 · 1 year ago

I would much rather take the exam so even if I got no grade I would know if I deserved one or not

aberrell · 1 year ago

I’d rather be given an exam because giving grades depends on all sorts of factors such as grades you receive during the year. If one day you weren’t feeling well and couldn’t complete the mock test to the best of your ability, then the grade you are given wouldn’t be as good as if you took an exam.

aberrell · 1 year ago

(First to commment)

anyab3 · 1 year ago

I woul definitely rather to take an exam because it means that I have time to revise, and that it is based solely on my performance not on what the teachers think of me.

sopliu · 1 year ago

I am SOOOOOOOOO stressing about the 11 plus

opalstar · 1 year ago

#First to comment!

opalstar · 1 year ago

Yes I would rather take an exam because then you know you worked your hardest so whatever results they give you has a meaning

opalstar · 1 year ago

If you get grades it isn't real. You could have gotten much better or much worse then they guessed. Who agrees?

opalstar · 1 year ago

If you want to answer any of my comments please say: This is for OpalStar.

dorisbloom · 1 year ago

Although it would be easier to wait for your teachers to give you a predicted grade, it's not as accurate as taking an actual exam for a lot of reasons, so I'd rather do a test to get my results.

maxstaras · 1 year ago

I would rather let the teacher decide my grade because I feel like it more genuinely reflects how hard you've worked and how well you've done all year. Also, exams are so small compared to all the work you've done so you could get lucky with the questions or accidentally skip a whole page and get a very low result.

freya2909 · 1 year ago

Definitely take an exam
You could be a top student and then get given D - how wrong is that??!!

raffipm · 1 year ago

I’d rather do an exam instead of my teacher choosing a grade for me as if I hadn’t done well in class but I knew I could do better I would like to do the test to show I can do better.

angie20 · 1 year ago

Taking an exam shows how much I have learnt over the time period which is a much more better way of showing what you are capable of.

swimming16 · 1 year ago

I'd rather take and exam📝

piggy9876 · 1 year ago

It do not know, it depends on what year I am in. If I was doing my JCSE then I would probably like to take a exam, though if it was just a end of term test or report then I would be happy to just have my teacher's opinion; It depends

codonnell · 1 year ago

I don't like tests much but at least I would get the right grade.

lizzie1357 · 1 year ago

I would rather take an exam and it is better for everyone because sometimes you don't work that hard in class but in an exam you can revise

puppy123 · 1 year ago

I would rather take an exam, because at least that way if you got a grade you weren't happy with, you know that you tried your best and that's all you can do. Also, you know if you deserved it and you couldn't blame anyone else, and you would at least feel justified in your grade.

omangion · 1 year ago

I would much rather do the exam so that I know whatever I get, it is the best I can do.

pinkiepie1 · 1 year ago

I would rather take an exam because teachers cant judge a student from their performance but it would be better for them to take an exam

crazyapple · 1 year ago

I would prefer to take an exam as it would be my own work, not an estimation

pumpkin135 · 1 year ago

I'd rather take an exam because then there is an accurate result , rather than if you got given a grade.You might not be happy with your estimated grade and feel you could of done better.

farpianist · 1 year ago

I have had quite a lot of experience in Exams firstly but that’s not the reason . I think that well given a grade wouldn’t be just as at the beginning of a year you may not be the best at that subject though with an exam it determined on what you have learnt and it show it clearer

farpianist · 1 year ago

Also I have some 7 11+ so I’m OK with the fact of coping with an exam

oceangirl · 1 year ago

I would want to be given a teacher grade and take an exam and I would want my grade to be an average of them both.

oceangirl · 1 year ago

I also agree with Puppy123

stargrl · 1 year ago

I don't understand.

panda89 · 12 months ago

I would like to do an exam because I HAte maths but if i did an exam and just guessed them all I might still get them right

i.q.t.pup · 11 months ago


bourbons25 · 10 months ago

I'd prefer being given a grade because it's based on your coursework for that entire year, not just one day in an exam.

ecool · 8 months ago


odinseye · 7 months ago

I ❤️ Exams!

tsait · 6 months ago


krixkrax8 · 6 months ago

man why grade

krixkrax8 · 6 months ago

I would do an exam