TELEVISION reporters went back to school yesterday to film the exam day cliché – the money shot of those perfectly uniformed, rapturous, five straight ‘A’ faces, all on a promise by their proud parents to celebrate in Nando's last night, (saving a tenner a head in the process.)

Of course, TV never records the tear-stained, snot-nosed physiognomy of those who won’t make it into uni with those grades, who will have to face not only their parents’ ire but their own sense of abject hopelessness for months to come.

Do results make much difference to young lives? The Simpsons cartoon series once set the scene perfectly for debate: Bart Simpson revels as the brash go-getter to whom school is simply a detainment centre until he succeeds as a little Lord Sugar. His polysyllabic sister Lisa, however, is wisdom personified and craves learning.

She needs the validation that certificates provide. And one scene features Lisa on bended knee in her kitchen begging her mother Marge "Grade me! Grade me!". Lisa needs that scribbled ‘A’ to reaffirm her value as a human being.

Right now in Scotland we have to worry about our Barts, our Lisas and the kids who don’t have obvious skills on which to build a future, in an unimaginable way. Young people are facing a Covid-ravaged future, with a fight to find jobs that will demand the inner strength and conviction of an Albus Dumbledore.

But to make matters worse, Covid has wrecked traditional exam testing and replaced it with a new system, whereby SQA moderated grades estimated by teachers based on several unclear factors.

The result was chaos. Twenty-five per cent of schools’ recommendations were ignored by SQA, using a methodology as suspect as the contention that Mr Chips chose to spend his time entirely in the company of young boys – despite having experienced a short life with the gorgeousness that was Greer Garson, at least in the film anyway.

Why didn’t the SQA simply support the track and trace system, whereby teachers, who know the pupils implicitly, provide all the necessary background info, backed by faculty heads and senior management?

Education Secretary John Swinney boasted; “Three quarters of all gradings have required no moderation.” What of the 25 per cent SQA have altered? Why have they been altered? What algorithms – or benchmarks have been used?

Have the SQA proportioned a set number of passes to match up with schools’ previous records? One teacher said yesterday; “I know of a pupil who achieved a History Higher pass mark, a ‘C’, who had barely attended class prior to Covid. The school determined he would merit a ‘D’. This makes no sense.”

John Swinney maintains there has been a 2.9 per cent increase in performance results. Why, particularly in a time when pupils have never been less at school, their lives never thrown into such disarray? How can the evaluation process be robust?

The worry then is that this is quantitative easing in educational form, printing passes in order to remove the dunce’s cap from his own head.

The Government also argues the differential between state and private schools has narrowed. But perhaps it would be even narrower had the SQA not been involved?

There are tactics and strategies here we’re not being told about and they make a mockery of the teaching profession. More worryingly, they’re capable of wrecking young lives.

The Bart Simpsons out there will have a tough time setting themselves up in business without sound qualifications. The Lisa Simpsons will struggle against all the other First Class Honours kids going up for a job in B&Q.

We need fairness and a structure we can believe in. We need to believe our teachers do their best for their charges.

On television yesterday, both the FM and the Education Minister reiterated many, many, times there is an appeals process for those whose results didn’t meet expectation. Too many times. It all smacked of a pair who realised they were facing a seat outside the headmaster’s office for not doing their homework.

As a result, many fragile, frustrated, confused young minds first major move in life will see them battle the SQA’s appeal process.

What kind of start is this for someone who has been isolated for months, unable to be part of the traditional teaching process?

If we don’t judge people by the colour of their skin why should we judge those who don’t get five ‘A’s? But we will. The selection criteria for most jobs is going to be horrendous.

The selection process young people will face is going to be tougher.

That’s why the exam results process has to be fair. We have to be able to judge and record true potential, otherwise we’ll soon face a mental health epidemic. Young lives matter.

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