A BAN on Scottish pupils seeing their marked exam papers is to be reviewed.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has launched the consultation after concerns the current policy lacks transparency.

The SQA currently interprets freedom of information and data protection legislation in a way that prevents exam candidates seeing their papers - even in the case of a dispute over marks.

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However, Scotland is out of step with the rest of the UK and other countries where papers are routinely accessed by pupils and their families.

The issue was discussed at the Scottish Parliament’s education committee as MSPs questioned SQA chief executive Dr Janet Brown.

Liz Smith, education spokeswoman for the Scottish Conservative Party, said: “It is my understanding that if there is a dispute over a request for a marking review that you are not in a position to let the papers be seen by the candidate.

“Could I ask what the justification is for that because in other parts of the UK and other countries that does happen.

“Given the constituents that write to us I think it might be helpful if that transparency was in Scotland too. It helps with integrity that the candidate can see the reason.”

Ms Brown said one of the challenges for the SQA historically was that they only had one paper copy of the script.

She said: “We are now moving to a different environment where we have electronic copies of scripts.

“We will be consulting this year on changing that policy if the system requires it.

“There is a variety of opinions across the country as to whether or not that is a good thing to do.”

Joanna Murphy, chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, welcomed the review, but called for clarity over the current system.

She said: “It would be helpful for pupils and teachers to be able to review an exam paper to help understand why a mark was awarded. “Sitting exams is stressful and being able to revisit the paper to see how marks have been awarded would help during an appeal.

“Communication is the key here. The new appeals system is not well understood by parents and anything which can help open this subject up is welcome.”

Andrea Bradley, assistant secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland teaching union, also welcomed the review, but warned of the potential cost.

She said: “We are supportive of approaches to assessment that provide learners with feedback on their progress to inform next steps in learning generally.

“Allowing candidates to see their marked papers would be in line with this, although it could generate additional administrative costs for the SQA that we would not wish to see being transferred to local authorities.”

Earlier it emerged the SQA is to step back from a decision to prevent teachers from viewing exam papers until the following day.

Officials said this summer that the ban had been introduced to thwart inappropriate posting of material on social media, but it led to widespread criticism that the SQA lacked trust in the profession.

In previous years school staff have been allowed to access papers almost immediately after an exam in order to assess questions and provide feedback to pupils.

Ms Brown admitted the SQA had not consulted with the teaching profession before making the decision to restrict access.

She said: “Papers will be available at the end of the school day after all candidates have undertaken qualifications. We did not consult and probably should have done.”