If ever there was an opportunity to have a serious conversation about examination and certification in Scotland, it is surely now ..

Opening Blog

by James McEnaney

If ever there was an opportunity to have a serious conversation about examination and certification in Scotland, it is surely now.


That is where, with luck, exam.scot comes in. This is not the start of a campaign – it is a call to a serious discussion about where we go from here, with all options on the table.

There are two fundamental areas to be examined.

The first is: what sort of certification system do we need and want in Scotland? Do we wish to retain the annual examination cycle we currently depend upon, with students facing final assessments in S4, S5 and S6? Would something like Ireland’s Leaving Certificate, Finland’s National Matriculation Exam, or New Zealand’s National Certificate of Education Achievement offer a better way forward? Is it time to embrace the 21st Century and adopt the Open Badges approach?


Once we know what type of system we want, we would then need to decide how it functions. What mechanisms are we to use to assess, in as accurate, fair and meaningful a way as possible, the progress and potential of young people?

Who are we?

The need for a clear space to discuss the future of examination and certification in Scotland arose from a discussion between Isabelle Boyd (@CoradCor1), George Gilchrist (@GilchristGeorge), James McEnaney (@MrMcEnaney), Neil McLennan (@neiledinburgh), Robin Macpherson (@robin_macp) and Harold Raitt (@mr_raitt).

But we want this forum to be a genuinely open space for sharing thoughts, facts and proposals about exams in Scotland. Over just a few days, 700+ followers have joined us, ready to start the discussion on Twitter @examscot, or with the hashtag #examscot.

The following additional individuals have already expressed their enthusiasm to join in the discussion here on the website by contributing opinions and proposals:

  • Professor Bob Davies
  • Gillian Hunt
  • Professor Emeritus Brian Boyd
  • Barry Black
  • Drew Burrett
  • Iain White
  • Peter John Yuill
  • Russell Taylor
  • Eileen Imlah
  • Ben Kirk
  • Angela Jaap
If you’d like to join this list, do email us at mail@exam.scot, send us a Direct Message on Twitter, or message us via our Facebook page.

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