SQA algorithm downgrades 124,000 predicted exam results

Occurred: August 2020-

An algorithm used by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) faced significant criticism due to its handling of exam predictions. 

Developed by the SQA, the algorithm was introduced due to restrictions imposed by the Scottish government during the COVD-19 pandemic which meant that in-person exams had to be scrapped.

The new system was widely criticised by students, parents, teachers, education experts and politicians after:

The incident was seen to have led to a loss of confidence and trust in Scotland's education system and government. SQA was also taken to task for a perceived lack of transparency, including its refusal to publish details of the algorithm. Several SQA management figures including its Chief Executive, Ron Tuck, resigned or lost their jobs as a result of the crisis.

Operator: Education Scotland
Developer: Scottish Qualifications Authority
Country: UK - Scotland
Sector: Education
Purpose: Predict exam grades
Technology: Prediction algorithm
Issue: Accuracy/reliability; Bias/discrimination - economic
Transparency: Governance; Complaints/appeals; Legal

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