TWO encouraging developments have taken place on the vexed subject of school exam papers and who can see what – and when. Firstly, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is to reverse its decision to prevent teachers viewing exam papers until the day after pupils sit them, a move aimed at preventing “inappropriate postings” on social media.

However, teachers’ leaders said it demonstrated lack of trust and was more about protecting the SQA’s image after criticism of previous exam papers. It was also widely felt pupils should be able to discuss papers immediately after exams with teachers rather than seeing social media full of hearsay in the first 24 hours.

The second development to emerge from yesterday’s Holyrood education committee was the possibility of letting pupils see marked exam papers. This might raise concerns about costs, administration and logistics, and the SQA has worried in the past about litigation from parents. But the system is already in place in other parts of the UK. Besides, such a move could let pupils learn from their mistakes and reduce the number of appeals as well as making the exam system more open and accountable.

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Indeed, taken together, both of yesterday’s developments could help build relationships between pupils, teachers and the SQA. And, as such, they should be welcomed.