I've avoided commenting on this matter before, since I don't have any evidence behind my theory of what the actual story is, not having read the article, or having had the chance to talk to the people or see the facts the article is based off.
However it is my opinion that this is just the media sensationalising a fairly mundane story. I have found an article in the daily mail, that appears to talk about the same incident.
From the article
The Daily Mail wrote:
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said the use of phrases like "2b r nt 2b" or "i luv u" in exam papers would be allowed as long as candidates showed they understood the subject.
Now what I think happened was that the boards decided that as long as the meaning was understandable, then the spelling wouldn't matter. This means that dyslexic students, or other students that have trouble with spelling and grammar, wouldn't do badly despite having a good understanding of the subject.
Now, one of the reporters at one of these tabloid rags heard this and thought, "Hey, I bet that means they can use text speak" and rang up the exam board to check. The reply they would have got would be something along the lines of "Well, I suppose so. As long as they convey their understanding of the subject they will get the marks". So the reporter took this, applied their spin to it, and thus we have an article that says that students can officially use txt speak in exams, and that suggests that that is the whole of the new policies.
Now, I would say that they also don't mention that it is a great risk to use txt speak, since the marker may not be able decipher it. If they can't you won't get the marks. Tough.
They also don't mention that in a large number of subjects, such as the sciences, there are already generally few, if any, marks awarded for spelling and grammar. A Level physics for example has 4 marks, and that's all, that can be taken off for grammar. The rest of the marks are for understanding the subject, which I think is the more important aspect.
I think they would like to be able to limit it so that you can't use things like txt speak, but how do you make a policy that allows people to misspell things, but not use it. They can either have a policy that says everything should be spelt perfectly, or that spelling doesn't matter, just that understanding is conveyed. Otherwise you would have a policy that stated something like "spelling must be reasonably good" which is just too wide, too open for interpretation by the teacher marking, meaning that some students might get marked much more severely than others, which wouldn't be fair. They already spend a great deal of time trying to ensure that the level of marking is equal across the country, such a policy would make this impossible.
So, all in all, this is just the tabloids working themselves to the bone to make a story where there shouldn't be one, and giving a bad name to the best possible policy.
I'll shut up now, but before I do, another quote from that article in the Mail
The SQA said today that although text answers were considered "inappropriate" and would not be eligible for top marks, they would still be given credit if expressing a valid idea.