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)
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
15 August 2016
We will shortly be refreshing the Scottish set text list, for implementation in session 2018/19. The revised list will be published in January 2017 and the first question papers to contain content from the new list will be sat by candidates in May 2019. The intention is that the refresh will be light touch in order that the impact on resources will be limited.
Before this refresh takes place, we would like you to share with us your views on the existing list and give us your feedback on any potential changes or additions that you would like to see put in place. You can do this by completing the following online survey
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.