National 5 Qualification Changes Aim To Cut Teacher Workload

31 March 2017, 12:21 | Updated: 31 March 2017, 12:24

Teacher with Blackboard

Changes to the National 5 qualification to help reduce teacher workload and over-assessment of pupils have been announced.

Education Secretary John Swinney confirmed mandatory unit assessments will be removed in 2017/18 while the course assessments - exams and coursework - ''have been strengthened to maintain their integrity, breadth and standards''.

National 4 and 5 replaced standard grades in the new curriculum.

Teaching unions have raised concerns over the use of unit assessments in the qualifications, which they said significantly increased the workload of teachers.

The reforms also include extending the Grade D band from 45%-49% to include candidates who achieve between 40% and 49%.

Schools will be able to continue presenting candidates for both National 5 units and the course assessments.

This means candidates achieving less than 40% in the course assessment, and who have completed the relevant units, would be awarded a National 4 qualification.

This option is available in exceptional circumstances and for an interim period only.

Mr Swinney said: ''Removing mandatory unit assessments will significantly reduce teacher workload and the over-assessment experienced by some young people.

''The changes to National 5 agreed by the Assessment and Qualifications Group will begin to be implemented later this year.

''Ahead of that, I have been listening closely to feedback about the need to ensure the achievements of young people continue to be recognised.

''Teachers and learners are currently making decisions about courses for the next academic year and it is incumbent upon schools and colleges to ensure learners are presented at the appropriate qualification level.

''The new guidance confirms that a fallback option will be available for National 5 on an interim basis only until such time as the National 4 qualification has been revised.

''The guidance also makes clear that this should only be used in exceptional circumstances.''