A Glasgow MSP has raised concerns that pupils from at least 27 schools in the city may have been unfairly disadvantaged by a "secret" grading system in this year's exams.

After the coronavirus pandemic led to the cancellation of exams, teachers were asked by the SQA to submit estimated grades. One of the criteria the exams authority will use is a school's historical exam results. 

The Scottish Greens fear that schools such as Whitehill, St Mungo and the Glasgow Gaelic School will see their grades unfairly lowered as they have recently seen improvement on their higher pass marks. 

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They are now challenging the SQA to publish in full the moderation system is it using, as well as the Equalities Impact Assessment it is legally required to carry out.

However, the exams authority has said they will only do this after results have been issued.

It is understood the body has twice refused requests by the Scottish Parliament’s Education and Skills committee to immediately publish this information.

Glasgow North MSP, Patrick Harvie said: “Schools in Glasgow have worked really hard to improve the chances and opportunities for their pupils, but this hard work could now be seriously undermined by a secret SQA system which reduces the hard work of individual young people to a statistical average and postcode lottery.

"We just don’t know if the SQA will take account of this recent success because of the veil of secrecy they’ve put over this process.

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“The exams authority are undermining not only the professional judgement of teachers but the hard work of pupils with this secret moderation process.

"They must publish the details of this grading system and the legally required Equality Impact Assessment now, so teachers can have confidence it is robust and know what to expect when the results come in. T

"This is particularly urgent now that we know the SQA will not be contacting teachers to let them know that they have changed submitted grades.”

An SQA spokesman said: “This is an unprecedented year and we have worked hard, with schools and colleges, to ensure young people get the results they deserve.  This analysis is speculative and unhelpful, particularly to young people who are awaiting their results. 

“We have provided information about our approach, but we have also been quite clear that we will publish our full methodology and Equalities Impact Assessment on results day, the day we would normally publish information about our awarding processes.   

"We have said all along that fairness to learners, whilst maintaining the integrity and credibility of our qualifications system, is at the heart of our approach.

“It is important to highlight that, this year, a free appeals service will be available if schools and colleges do not think awarded grades reflect their learners’ performance.”