More than three quarters of secondary teachers in Scotland lack confidence in how the new National 4 and 5 exams will be delivered, only months before pupils are due to sit them, a survey has found.
Almost 80 per cent of teachers polled by the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) said they were not confident in assessing pupils for the Nationals, which replace Standard grades from this summer.
The survey, which was completed by about half of the 5,500 teachers who were sent it, also found that 60 per cent of respondents were not confident in delivering course materials for the exams.
The exams have been devised under the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) reforms and will be sat by about 54,000 15 and 16-year-old pupils from April.
New Higher exams which will be taken next year are also causing concern, with 78 per cent of respondents indicating no confidence in their ability to deliver course materials and 86 per cent citing lack of confidence in assessment procedures for the exams.
Almost all respondents (93 per cent) said they were dissatisfied with the quality of extra support offered by Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to put things right.
Alan McKenzie, the SSTA’s acting general secretary, said: “Such alarming rates of lack of confidence must be acted upon because if a teacher lacks confidence then this will be quickly transferred to young people.
“Throughout the implementation of CfE, the SSTA has attempted to signal real concerns about progress and it is clear that the great area of dissatisfaction is with Education Scotland and the SQA.
“We have been careful about appearing alarmist and at all times wished to contribute positively to the successful outcome of this curricular initiative. There is still time to achieve this.”
Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive, said the exams body would work in partnership with teachers, listen to their concerns and provide more support if needed.
Many schools and colleges have shown “clear evidence” of a good understanding of the expected standards, she added.
A spokeswoman for Education Scotland said it had provided a range of support to help teachers prepare for the exams.
Meanwhile, the EIS union has held the first event in its Workload Campaign, aimed at cutting administrative pressures in all sectors of education.
Hugh Donnelly, secretary of EIS Glasgow local association, told a rally in the city that a “toxic combination” of budget cuts and curricular change had put teachers at breaking point and was affecting the quality of learning available to children and young people.