English

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Past papers

English past papers and marking instructions.

Common questions

Set list of Scottish texts

The Scottish set text list has been compiled to reflect Scotland's rich culture and heritage and it includes a breadth of themes. In compiling the list, we took account of the extensive feedback received through engagement with practitioners, as well as other key stakeholder groups. A central consideration for us, when selecting the texts to be included on the list, was the suitability of the texts for assessment purposes.

We took the following steps to arrive at the current list of Scottish texts:

  1. We used an online questionnaire:
    • During the 2011/2012 exam diet, the team of examiners was asked to draw up a list of Scottish texts commonly answered on by candidates in the previous Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 English exams.
    • The Qualification Design Team (QDT) for English, which consisted of Principal Teachers and Faculty Heads of English, as well as other key stakeholder representatives, commented on the suggested list and also discussed a list submitted by the Association of Scottish Literary Studies (ASLS) nominated representative on the QDT.
    • As a result of these discussions, we further increased the number of titles in each genre (drama, prose poetry) to include a wide representation of both established and more recent Scottish writers.
  2. Between September – November 2012 we used an external consultancy agency (Ashbrook Research and Consultancy) to independently gather practitioners’ views. There were two parts to this consultation:
    • A web based consultation* on which texts should be used (which included providing the opportunity for respondents to make additional suggestions).
    • This was followed by practitioner focus groups (x8) which looked at the outcomes of the web consultation and associated issues.

    * All centres were notified of the consultation in advance of it being carried out. As well as commenting on a suggested list of texts, respondents were given the opportunity to suggest Scottish texts they thought should be included.

  3. Ashbrook then presented their findings to a Special Joint Curriculum Area Review Group/Qualification Design Team Meeting. Read the Ashbrook report (1.07 MB).
  4. At the English Implementation Events which took place across the country in November and December, practitioners received a draft list of Scottish texts for National 5 and Higher for information and feedback. The feedback from practitioners at the events were the need for a wider list of novels and more ‘crossover’ texts to facilitate bi-level teaching.
  5. Detailed work was undertaken by an SQA English Subject Working Group (SWG) to finalise the list of set Scottish texts (in the categories of prose, drama and poetry). The SWG had been tasked to look at the suitability of texts for assessment, to consider overlap between National 5 and Higher, and to finalise the list. The SWG also looked across the list for National 5 and Higher English to ensure there is a balance of familiar, established texts as well as texts which are more recent. The SWG consisted of current practitioners (from schools and colleges) and SQA examiners.

Scottish Texts for National 5 and Higher English (30 KB)

2016 consultation on the set list of Scottish texts

In 2016, we carried out a consultation with teachers and other key stakeholders on the refresh of the Scottish set text list for National 5 and Higher English. Based on the findings of this consultation, we have now published a refreshed set text list for implementation in session 2018-19. This is a minor refresh, which provides opportunities for new texts to be studied, while also ensuring a minimal impact on resources.

Scottish set text list 2018-19 (40 KB)

The following report details the findings of our consultation and provides more information on how we gathered the views of teachers and stakeholders.

Summary report: Scottish set text list consultation (47 KB)