The Higher ESOL Course develops the skills of reading, writing, listening, and speaking, in order to understand and use English for learners whose first language is not English. As learners develop their language skills, they will be able to process information more easily, apply knowledge of language in practical and relevant contexts, and gain confidence to undertake new and more challenging tasks in a variety of situations.
Updates and announcements
- May 2016 subject update (National 3 - Higher) (225 KB)
- October 2015 subject update (152 KB)
- August 2015 subject update (National 3 - Higher) (158 KB)
- May 2015 subject update (131 KB)
- September 2014 subject update (336 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 Unit(s) in the Higher ESOL Course.
Available from our secure website
- Outcome 2 of the ESOL in Work-related Contexts Unit
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 published training materials from the 2015 ESOL Nominee training event. 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.
- ESOL Review Report (50 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.
- Higher ESOL 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.
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 ESOL Listening Specimen Question Paper
- Higher ESOL Listening Exemplar Question Paper
- Higher ESOL: Listening (Recording) Specimen Question Paper
- Guidance on the use of past paper questions for Higher ESOL
- Higher ESOL Exemplar Question Paper Guidance
- Higher ESOL Reading and Writing Specimen Question Paper
- Higher ESOL Reading and Writing 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.
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.