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In Scotland, children typically start primary school at the age of 5 and attend until they are 11 or 12, at which point they move on to secondary school. Secondary school in Scotland typically runs from the ages of 12 to 18.
The Scottish education system is divided into three main levels: primary, secondary, and further education. Primary education covers the first seven years of schooling, followed by three years of secondary education, which culminates in the Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC). After completing the SQC, students can continue their education in further education, which includes vocational training, higher education, and adult learning.
The main qualifications offered in Scottish schools are:
The Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC): This is a certificate that is awarded to students who have completed three years of secondary education. The SQC is made up of a range of national qualifications, including National 5s, Highers, and Advanced Highers, which are all assessed through exams and coursework.
- National 5s: These are qualifications that are taken at the end of the first two years of secondary education in Scotland. National 5s cover a range of subjects, including maths, science, languages, and the arts, and are assessed through exams and coursework.
- Highers: These are more advanced qualifications that are taken at the end of the third year of secondary education in Scotland. Highers cover a wide range of subjects, and are assessed through exams and coursework.
- Advanced Highers: These are the most advanced qualifications offered in Scottish schools, and are taken by students who are planning to go on to university. Advanced Highers are taken at the end of the fourth year of secondary education, and are assessed through exams and coursework.
In addition to these main qualifications, schools also offer a range of other qualifications, including the Scottish Baccalaureate, a qualification that is designed to help students develop skills and knowledge in a particular subject area, and the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ), that is designed to help students develop skills and knowledge in a particular vocational area.
Primary school student progress is assessed through teacher observations, classwork, and assignments.
Teachers assess progress with ongoing observations of student performance in class, assessments of their work, and discussions with students about their learning. This is designed to give an overview of their progress and to take into account their ability to work independently and in groups, their creativity and critical thinking skills, and their overall progress in different subject areas.
Primary schools in Scotland use a range of other methods to track student progress, including using learning journals, portfolios, and other materials to document student learning and development.
Formal exams and standardised tests are not a part of the primary school system, however there are national assessments that are conducted at this level. These assessments are known as the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA), and are designed to provide information about student progress in literacy and numeracy.
The National Standardised Assessments for Scotland (NSA) is the collective name for the Scottish National Standardised Assessments (SNSA) and their Gaelic counterpart, Measaidhean Coitcheann Nàiseanta airson Foghlam tron Ghàidhlig (MCNG).