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He confirmed that all downgraded awards would be withdrawn and that he had told the SQA to issue new grades based only on teacher estimates.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