Sharing qualification and assessment standards
Giving as much access as possible to current standards is a crucial part of the Scottish Standard, and we produce a lot of standards-related material which we distribute to centres and post on our website. We keep our qualifications under continuous review - we have just completed an extensive modernisation programme to bring all our Higher National Units and Group Awards up to date, for example.
If you want to find out what is available, or check that you are using the latest version of standards, you can access the NQ, HN and SVQ sections of our website. These will lead you to both general and subject-specific information.
You should contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 0303 333 0330) if you are unsure about the standards you are using. Developing material to support, let's say, a Higher National Unit Specification that may be changed in the near future is not the best use of your resources, nor is it in the best interests of learners. We also provide guidance and training to help explain standards and how you might apply them.
Follow the links below for more information:
Continuous Professional Development (CPD)
You will receive proof of your own continuing professional development because every PDW includes a delegate pack, reference materials, and a personalised CPD certificate.
We can also offer a tailored Professional Development Workshop aimed at meeting your approved centre, specific business, or CPD needs.
Customer events and support
SQA runs a good number of customer events throughout the year, information about what is available can be found at www.sqa.org.uk/events. You can get more information about other support we provide to customers from our Support from SQA web pages.
Generic/compilation information and guidance
Here are some examples:
- Conditions and Arrangements for National Qualifications
- The Operational Handbooks for both National and Higher National Qualifications
- SVQ Update
Professional Development Workshops
Throughout the year we offer a series of half- and full-day Continuing Professional Development Workshops (PDWs) - all of which are developed and delivered by subject specialists. They cover a range of topics relevant to business owners, assessors, verifiers, teachers and lecturers - in fact any professional working in an SQA approved centre or in the Scottish employer, training, and education sectors.
SQA Co-ordinators in schools, colleges, and private training providers
SQA centres provide us with the name and contact details of a member of staff (the SQA Co-ordinator) who receives all the information we send out about qualification and assessment standards and is responsible for disseminating this more widely within centres. The Co-ordinator may also act as a source of information and advice about standards. Here is our induction guide for SQA Co-ordinators.
Subject information and guidance
The best way to find subject information is to select the relevant qualification icon from the right hand Qualifications menu, then the relevant subject from the subject drop-down. Alternatively, you can use the Qualification Finder on our home page.
We also have a large amount of information about subject assessment standards. Here are just a few examples of what we provide:
Telling you what is available and up to date
You will need to know what qualifications are available and where they are in the development process.
For National Qualifications, you are probably best starting with our National Qualification Unit search page.
This allows you to search for a National Course or Unit by title, and a National Course or Unit by code. It also links to our Catalogue of National Qualifications (4 MB).
Further information about each National Qualification is available from the drop-down menu on the National Qualification home page.
For Higher National Units, see the Higher National Units spreadsheet (2 MB).
We also complete an 'annual health warning' for Higher National Group Awards and Units to help you ensure that you are working with current Units and Group Awards. This is where you'll find out if the standards you are using for Higher National Qualifications are still up to date.
The SVQ Update explains how Scottish Vocational Qualifications and Accreditation processes work, and provides a list of Scottish Vocational Qualifications available at time of writing.
You'll find out what Professional Development, National Qualification Group and Customised Awards are available from the following links:
Understanding Standards and SQA Academy websites
Understanding Standards website
The Understanding Standards website helps people working in education and training to understand standards of assessment, as they are applied by SQA Examination Teams.
The website is specifically designed for use by subject teachers and lecturers. It assumes subject knowledge and some familiarity with the relevant examination papers. As a visitor to the site, you can consider the principles of how to mark subject assessments, and can then see how your knowledge of standards compares with SQA's Marking Teams by marking candidates' responses and comparing marks.
This link gives you the opportunity to mark a sample of Higher History essays and compare how you mark them with the actual mark given by the SQA Marking Team.
You can, of course, select other subjects if you wish and browse the rest of the website. Certain areas of the website are password-protected and available only to teaching staff in SQA approved centres; the SQA Co-ordinator in your centre will have details for these.
SQA Academy is being developed to extend and enhance training and development opportunities available to anyone contributing to the assessment of SQA qualifications. The website is divided into 'webspaces', each of which has a different purpose. The majority are only available to registered users, though some spaces are open to all.