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From recent events, it would appear that this government-funded body, should you commission them to organise a piss-up in a brewery, would excell in failing miserably.

They set the courses for, and examine, Standard Grade, Intermediate 2, Higher, Advanced Higher and National Certificate syllabi. And, most of the time, do it fairly effectively.

However, in 1999/2000, a new system was brought into effect, which also meant the introduction of a new computer system. This caused a couple of problems. Such as about six thousand pupils not recieving their results in the mail on August 10, 2000. And many, many more did not have accurate results.

The SQA, for a while, kept up the stance that there was nothing wrong. A press release on August 12, 2000 read:

Reports that the integrity of this year’s examination results is in question are without foundation. There is no reason to assume that there are material flaws in either the results data, or the underlying processes which manage that data.
The next we heard from them was a little later on the same day;
By mutual agreement, Ron Tuck has today relinquished his position as Chief Executive of SQA. An announcement about an external interim appointment of Chief Executive will be made early next week.

In other words, they screwed up.

the A Level results were released today, August 17, 2000. This also marked the start of UCAS's 'Clearing' procedures, where those who didn't quite make the grades that were required to get into their university course of choice could find another course willing to accep them. Pupils across the country were supposed to have equal chances at this first come, first served exercise, but now Scottish pupils are being left out, due to the fact that the SQA are still checking all their results.

Even people who have gained the required grades have, as of this writing, yet to find out if they've been accepted to their courses for sure.

Not the most efficient of government agencies, as you can probably see...

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