The release of the exam results in Scotland today has caused a major storm in the media north of the border. The main observation is that the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has downgraded most of the predicted grades made by the schools and colleges. Perhaps this was not so unexpected as teachers tried to get the best for their students. But what has caused the storm is the simple fact that the down grading has hit hardest in schools in the most disadvantaged areas. This has painfully opened an old wound of ingrained disadvantage amongst school students. It took the COVID-19 crisis to bring this into the light of day. It appears that SQA decided not to move the goalposts of social inequality. Instead, it decided to cement them into the ground for good. This will not go away and expect a fierce backlash from those feeling they have been let down. We await the results of similar examinations in England, Wales and Northern Ireland next week fearing the same pattern will emerge.
Mike Larkin, retired from Queen's University Belfast after 37 years teaching Microbiology, Biochemistry and Genetics. He has served on the Senate and Finance and planning committee of a Russell Group University.