On Air Now
7 May 2014, 17:44
Standard Grades and Intermediates for fourth year pupils have been replaced this year, and the first students to sit the new exams are doing so throughout May and into June.
Those pupils will go on and sit the new Highers next year, or they can take more National 4s and 5s.
The Scottish Government says "a motivation behind introducing the new National Qualifications is to simplify the system so that parents and employers understand better what qualifications represent.
"The qualifications will offer increased flexibility, provide more time for learning, more focus on skills and applying learning, and more scope for personalisation."
National 4 courses equate to general level at Standard Grade. They will be assessed by teachers through coursework assessment. There will be no external assessment or grading at this level.
Pupils can sit National 5 (credit level) exams, but can choose to enter Higher courses instead of spending time on exams.
David MacKenzie - headteacher of Linlithgow Academy in West Lothian - tells us:
"The new assessment has got to match the new approaches in the classroom. Exams now will include the children having to consider deeper understanding of the content".
Also, where appropriate, children in National 5 courses won't have to sit exams.
David MacKenzie: "Certainly in Linlithgow Academy, we have encouraged children to miss the assessment, if appropriate for that child to do that. We don't want children to take up unnecessary time doing assessments when we want them to engage more in their learning.
"Those pupils will start on a 2 year route to the Higher at the start of fourth year. They will cover the National 5 work - and then start their Higher work earlier, instead of spending 5 weeks on exams."
Hear more about what Mr MacKenzie has to say, including how teachers are coping and the future benefits of Curriculum For Excellence, here.