National 5 English
The National 5 English Course enables learners to develop their literacy skills and to understand, analyse and evaluate a range of texts (including Scottish texts) in the contexts of literature, language and media. The Course also enables learners to create and produce texts and to apply their knowledge and understanding of language.
Updates and announcements
- May 2016 subject update (189 KB)
- October 2015 subject update (200 KB)
- August 2015 subject update (National 3 - Higher) (93 KB)
- May 2015 subject update (159 KB)
- January 2015 subject update (Advanced Higher) (239 KB)
- September 2014 subject update (330 KB)
- Special Edition Update June 2014 (152 KB)
- September 2013 update letter (177 KB)
2015-16 Understanding Standards materials
We have published Understanding Standards materials for the following Units in National 4 and National 5 English Courses.
Available from our secure website
- National 4: Added Value Unit (published October 2015)
- National 5: Assessment Standards 1.1 and 1.2 of the Analysis and Evaluation Unit (published October 2015)
You can arrange access to these materials through your SQA Co-ordinator. They must be stored securely and treated as confidential.
Materials from events
We have also published training materials from the 2015/16 English Nominee training events. These materials can be downloaded from our Understanding Standards Events Materials web page.
Further information on Understanding Standards materials can be found in the 'Assessment support' section below. For more information on the Understanding Standards programme, and publication dates for materials in session 2015-16, visit our Understanding Standards page.
- English Review Report (163 KB)
This explains the overall structure of the Course, including its purpose and aims and information on the skills, knowledge and understanding that will be developed.
Course Assessment Specification
This explains the structure of the Course assessment; including the type and method of assessment. It also includes information on Course coverage.
These provide an outline of what each Unit will cover within the Course and detail the Outcomes and Assessment Standards.
- English Analysis and Evaluation (National 5) Unit Specification
- English Creation and Production (National 5) Unit Specification
Advice and guidance
Course and Unit Support Notes
These provide advice and guidance for teachers/lecturers on learning, teaching and assessment within the Course and its Units.
The following document contains the Course Support Notes and the Unit Support Notes for this Course. They can be printed together or separately.
Past Papers and Marking Instructions
Specimen and Exemplar Question Papers and Marking Instructions
These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.
- English: Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation Specimen Question Paper National 5
- English: Critical Reading Specimen Question Paper National 5
Part 1 of the English: Critical Reading specimen question paper includes sample questions for all texts on the set Scottish text list.
Previously, we published some sample questions using texts that are not currently on the set list. We have used these sample questions to create an additional resource that helps further illustrate the approach and structure of extract-based questions:
- English: Additional Exemplar Questions for Scottish Texts (National 5)
- Guidance on the use of past paper questions for National 5 English
National Parent Forum Scotland have also produced their Revision in a Nutshell series to help learners to prepare for National 5 examinations.
General assessment information provides instructions for the conduct of coursework, an overview of the assessment task, evidence to be gathered and general marking instructions.
Coursework assessment tasks provide the live assessment task, including marking instructions and instructions for candidates. Teachers/lecturers can access these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
Information on the production and submission of SQA-assessed coursework for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher.
National 5 Portfolio Templates
Unit Assessment Support
These documents contain details of Unit assessment task(s), show approaches to gathering evidence and how the evidence can be judged against the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Teachers/lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
Understanding Standards materials
We are publishing examples of candidate evidence with commentaries as part of our Understanding Standards programme. These materials are for teachers and lecturers to help them develop their understanding of the standards required for assessment. As these materials become available, they are being published in the following locations:
- Available from our secure website Materials relating to Unit assessment, internally assessed components of Course assessment, and externally assessed components of Course assessment which are subject to visiting assessment. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these materials through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- Available from our Understanding Standards website Materials relating to externally assessed components of Course assessment, with the exception of those subject to visiting assessment.
More information on our Understanding Standards programme, can be found on our Understanding Standards page.
Verification and Course Reports
- English Verification Key Message
- 2014 National 5 English Course Report
- 2015 National 5 English Course Report
- English Verification Key Message
- English Verification Key Messages Round 1
Scottish Texts in English Courses
Following acceptance of a recommendation from the Scottish Government's Scottish Studies Working Group, the Cabinet Secretary announced in January 2012, that the assessment of Scottish texts would be incorporated into the course assessment of National 5 and Higher English.
Please find below the current Scottish Text list for National 5 and Higher English for reference.