SCOTLAND’S exams body has set out how it will estimate pupils’ grades this year after all tests were cancelled because of coronavirus.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said grades would be based on teacher assessments across the whole year, not just on one prelim or project.

Teachers have been asked to supply estimates of grades, bands and rank order for every pupil at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher by May 29, with results due on August 4.

The SQA said it would compare the information with previous years’ data to ensure “consistency”, and “moderate these estimates, up or down if that is required”.

The £30 fee for unsuccessful appeals will be waived.

A similar system will be used for college students.

Education Secretary John Swinney praised the SQA for its “swift work” in developing guidance to support teachers in estimating pupils’ grades.

He said: “Teachers and lecturers are being asked to make important decisions about how learners may have otherwise performed in the exams they were due to sit this year.

"Their insights from working with learners in schools and colleges mean they are best placed to make judgements on learners’ performance.

"I am confident that they can deliver this vital role to ensure learners’ achievements are recognised in these unprecedented circumstances.”

Labour MSP Iain Gray said said the guidance had taken “too long” and queried the SQA’s plan to use a school’s previous performance to overrule teacher judgement.

He added: “We have been arguing for years for a return of a proper, free appeals procedure - this should be a permanent return, not just a one year response to crisis.”