The Higher English Course provides learners with the opportunity to develop listening, talking, reading and writing skills that will enable them to understand and use language. Building on literacy skills, Learners will develop their understanding of the complexities of language by studying a wide range of texts and building on their literacy skills. The Course also develops high levels of analytical thinking and understanding of the impact 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 further Understanding Standards materials for internal assessment in the Higher English Course.
Available from www.understandingstandards.org.uk
- Course assessment: Question Paper (published February 2016)
- Course assessment: Portfolio (published February 2016)
Available from our secure website:
- Outcome 1 of the Analysis and Evaluation Unit (published October 2015)
- Outcome 2 of the Creation and Production 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.
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.
- Higher English Critical Reading Specimen Question Paper
- Higher English Reading for Understanding, Analysis and Evaluation Specimen Question Paper
- Guidance on the use of past paper questions for Higher English
- Higher English Critical Reading Exemplar Question Paper
- Higher English Exemplar Question Paper Guidance
- Higher English Reading for Understanding, Analysis
and Evaluation - Text Exemplar Question Paper
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.
Higher 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
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.