Design Principles for NCs and NPAs

National Certificate design principles

National Certificates will have the following features:

SCQF level and SCQF credit points

  • National Certificates can be set at SCQF levels 2 - 6
  • National Certificates at levels 2 and 3 will be made up of Units to the value of 54 SCQF credit points
  • National Certificates at levels 4,5 and 6 will be made up of Units to the value of 72 SCQF credit points

All component Units in a National Certificate will be allocated to a level appropriate to their position in the SCQF. The majority of the credit points must be at the level of the Group Award.

Mandatory Section

  • All National Certificates will have a mandatory section.
  • National Certificates may contain alternative Units within the mandatory section but all alternatives must reflect the title of the National Certificate. If alternative Units are used, they should, in general, serve the same purpose within the National Certificate and should be at the same SCQF level of demand as the Units which they are substituting.
  • For National Certificates at SCQF levels 2 and 3 this mandatory section will be a minimum of 27 SCQF credit points.
  • For National Certificates at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6 this mandatory section will be a minimum of 36 SCQF credit points.

Core Skills

  • To meet employment and progression needs, all National Certificates will incorporate opportunities to develop Core Skills.
  • National Certificates should clearly include opportunities for candidates to develop Core Skills to the levels required by the occupations or progression pathways they support. This would normally mean all five Core Skills should be developed in every National Certificate.

National Certificates should facilitate credited attainment of specific Core Skills if these are seen as critical to the aims of the Group Award. In this case they should appear within the mandatory section either as a discrete Unit or embedded within another Unit.

National Occupational Standards

  • National Certificates must be aligned to National Occupational Standards or other professional or trade body standards, as appropriate to the Group Award.

Further information on linkage to National Occupational Standards is available in the document: Using National Occupational Standards in the development of SQA Group Awards (667 KB). GRAPHIC: PDF Icon.

National Courses

  • Include a maximum of three graded Course assessments if this is appropriate to the Group Award area.

 

National Progression Award design principles

National Progression Awards will have the following features:

SCQF level and SCQF credit points

  • National Progression Awards can be set at SCQF levels 2 - 6
  • National Progression Awards will have a minimum credit value of 12 SCQF credit points (at least 2 Units)
  • At least half of the credit points will be at the level of the Group Award. Where half of the Unit credits in an NPA are at one level and half are at another level there should be a strong rationale provided which determines the overall SCQF level.

National Occupational Standards

  • National Progression Awards must be aligned to National Occupational Standards or other professional or trade body standards, as appropriate to the Group Award.