National 5 Environmental Science
The National 5 Environmental Science Course enables learners to develop a scientific understanding of environmental issues. Learners will investigate key areas of the living environment, such as: biodiversity and interdependence; resource issues in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere and biosphere; and sustainability and sustainable development.
Updates and announcements
Changes to assessment in the National 5 course from session 2017-18
Following the Deputy First Minister’s announcement that units and unit assessments will be removed from National 5 to Advanced Higher courses, we are strengthening the course assessment to ensure it covers the full content of the course.
The following summary provides a quick look at what is needed to strengthen the course assessment in your National 5 course. These changes will take effect from session 2017-18 onwards. More detailed information will be provided in the revised Course Specifications, which will be available by the end of April 2017.
Changes to coursework:
Practical/experimental/fieldwork will become a mandatory feature of the assignment and this will result in some changes to the activities that make up the assignment.
The assignment will be worth 20 marks and will contribute to 20% of the course assessment.
Changes to the exam:
The question paper will be extended to include more questions and the number of available marks will increase from 80 marks to 100 marks. The duration of the exam will therefore also increase.
The exam will be worth 80% of the course assessment.
Reasons for these changes:
The question paper is being extended to ensure it samples a greater amount of course content, following the removal of the units.
Practical/experimental/fieldwork will become a mandatory feature of the assignment, following the removal of the units which currently assess this within outcome1.
The assignment will be scaled to maintain the current 20%:80% course assessment weighting.
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.
- N5 Environmental Science Course Specification
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.
- Environmental Science: Living Environment (National 5) Unit Specification
- Environmental Science: Sustainability (National 5) Unit Specification
- Environmental Science: Earth's Resources (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 Question Papers and Marking Instructions
These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.
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.
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
There was no verification activity for this subject for Round 1 of verification in 2015, therefore there are no subject-specific Verification Key Messages available at this stage. However, Generic Verification Key Messages are available which may be of interest to you. Subject-specific Verification Key Messages for this subject should be available following completion of Round 2 verification.
- Environmental Science Verification Key Message Round 1
- Environmental Science Verification Key Message
- 2016 National 5 Environmental Science Course Report
- Environmental Science Verification Key Messages Round 1