University of Edinburgh

New Qualifications and Assessment Information Day

Presented on Monday 13 May 2013

Qualifications update

Annette McKenna, DfE Lisiaon Manager, SQA


National 1

National 1 New Units

  • All new Units at National 1 will be referred to as National 1 Units. Within the new Units, there will no longer be a distinction between Supported and Independent Units.
  • SQA will put new provisions in place to ensure that there are sufficient opportunities for learners to progress within National 1 and to progress to National 2.
  • Specifications for the new National 1 Units will be published by the end of June 2013.
  • New National 1 Units will be available for centres to deliver from August 2013. These Units will cover skills associated with health and wellbeing and personal development
  • For session 2014/15, further Units covering communication (including expressive arts), finding out (including social subjects, religious and moral education, and science), number, practical skills, and working with technology will be provided
  • Existing National 1 Units will continue to be available. Further information about lapsing periods for all existing National 1 Units will be provided during session 2013/14.

Supported/Independent/Derived Units

Supported and Independent Units:
These Units will continue to be available during 2013 and 2014, with some Units available for longer.

Derived Units:
SQA is working with stakeholders to develop detailed plans to remove Derived Units from its catalogue. Where alternative Units exist, Derived Units will be removed to avoid unnecessary duplication.

Where alternative Units do not exist, and a need has been identified, SQA will develop replacement Units over a phased period. Much of this work will be completed during sessions 2012/13 and 2013/14.

National 2


National 3, 4, 5

National 3

  • Units pass/fail within centres, quality assured by SQA.
  • Replaces current Access 3 and Standard Grade Foundation Course and are benchmarked against the standards of existing Access 3 and Standard Grade Foundation Courses.
  • More skills based and greater learner opportunity for Personalisation and Choice.
  • 3 Assessment Support Packages available for SQA Secure Site.

National 3 Courses will not be graded.

National 4

  • Follows on from Outcomes and Experiences in the Broad General Education.
  • All Units marked internally within the Centre pass or fail - Quality Assured by SQA.
  • Added Value Method is prescribed by SQA and the Added Value Assessment is mandatory for first 2 years of implementation.
  • To be awarded the Course, learners must provide evidence which meets the requirements of all of the Units and Added Value.
  • 3 Assessment Support Packages available for SQA Secure Site.

National 4 Courses will not be graded.


Units assessed pass/fail within centres.

7 methods of assessment specified appropriate to subject and level:

  • Assignment
  • Case-Study
  • Project
  • Portfolio
  • Practical Activity
  • Performance
  • Test/Question paper

National 5

  • National 5 includes an Added Value Assessment.
  • This will sample breadth, challenge and/or application of skills from across the Course.
  • 3 Assessment Support Packages available for SQA Secure Site.
  • The Course assessment at these levels will be graded A-D.

Recognising Positive Achievement

  • Opportunities for candidates who have achieved Units at National 5, but failed the Course Assessment, to achieve the Course at National 4.
  • "Fallback" based on hierarchical structures.
  • No Compensatory Awards.
  • Must have an entry and a 'Pass' result for the N4 Added Value Unit (English, Gaidhlig and Maths also require Literacy and Numeracy Units).
  • Pre- and post-certification models.

Specifications and Support


Unit Assessment Support for National 2-National 5

  • The third Unit Assessment Support package for Units in the new National 2 to National 5 Courses is now available. The documents are held securely and teachers/lecturers can arrange access through their SQA Co-ordinator.
  • Package 3 of the Unit Assessment Support for Lifeskills Mathematics includes e-assessment materials, which are available from the Lifeskills Mathematics area of the SQA Solar website.

National 4 Added Value and National 5 Coursework

National 4 Added Value Unit assessment
SQA has published its third release of National 4 Added Value Unit assessments. The assessments are held securely and teachers/lecturers can arrange access to them through their SQA Co-ordinator.

National 5 coursework information
SQA has published its third release of coursework information for non-question-paper components of the National 5 Course assessment. This has been published in two parts: general assessment information and coursework assessment tasks.

Quality Assurance and Prior Verification

New Quality Assurance arrangements

  • Will cover new National 1 to National 5 from 2013/14.
  • New arrangements will promote shared understanding of national standards through a collaborative and partnership approach.
  • New 'Nominee' role - provides a pool of nationally trained experts.
  • Intense verification in the first 3 years, then an intelligence led approach will be adopted.
Date Activity
April 2012 Principal Verifiers appointed
Jan 2013 Nominee process begins
Mar-June 2013 Initial training for all Nominees
Sep-Dec 2013 Team leaders trained
Nov-Jun 2014 Programme of external QA begins

Prior Verification

  • Can amend SQA Unit Assessment Support Packs, maintaining the standard.
  • If developing assessments, advised to use SQA Prior Verification Service.
  • First prior verification window opens 3rd June 2013, response in August.
  • Thereafter, 6 week turnaround on submissions.