WITHOUT adequate quality control, the credibility of the certificates awarded this year thanks to the Covid-19 crisis will always be questionable and subject to criticism.

One lesson which will have to be taken to heart by the cohort of students facing state exams is that they must take their mocks or prelims seriously, as those exams will be used as evidence when it comes to appeals.

Teachers will have to spell out the importance of these practice exams so that their pupils focus properly on their place in the appeals procedure.

There may now also be a strong justification for laying the emphasis upon the final written exam instead of incorporating the continuous classwork which very often amounts to no more than work manicured over repeated review and revision, this latter draining the energies of both staff and students alike, where the concentration should be upon imaginative and inspiring delivery of lessons.

Reverting to the importance of the timed written exam would eliminate in the future the confusion and chaos which has bedevilled this year's awards.

There are other ramifications which need to be addressed in that they will have a serious impact upon employers, higher institutions and students.

Both employers and higher institutions will not be sure that their new intakes are up to scratch, the students not having fulfilled the full complement of course work needed to sit the final exams.

Remedial classes are likely to be needed to bring the fresh employees and students up to the standard required, if the quality of their work or degrees is not to be devalued and depreciated.

Covid-19 has been a wake-up call and should alert us to the dangers of going down the road to certification by public outcry.

Denis Bruce, Bishopbriggs.

MIKE Wilson (Letters, August 13) perhaps needs to take a time out to consider his own strange and clearly blinkered priorities when watching the evening news.

I am a parent of two schoolchildren – one of whom is directly impacted by the Scottish Government's utter incompetence in handling the SQA affair, and whose future career is potentially affected by the ridiculous decisions of Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney. I therefore find considerable more importance in a news item on this matter of national significance for our school leavers and university entrants, than I do in an item about the running-mate in a presidential election three months away in another country, whatever colour they may be.

Then again, I do not share Mr Wilson's clear conviction that the UK press – nor indeed anyone publicly – must never on any account dare to criticise the SNP.

Steph Johnson, Glasgow G12.

ALEX Neil ("This year’s exam fiasco must never happen again", Agenda, The Herald, August 8) says that "the scale and flawed rationale of the SQA’s downgrading exercise has done far more damage to the credibility of the system than an inflated increase in the annual overall pass rate could have done"

I think he underestimates the damage done by the latter. Extrapolating from what has become normal grade inflation, the day cannot be far off when all are awarded 100 per cent in every exam sat. Though everybody will be somebody, the ineluctable corollary is that nobody will be anybody.

The apocryphal Goldwynism is apposite:

“How’s business, Sam?”

“Stupendous – but it’s improvin’."

Robin Dow, Rothesay.