National Qualifications examinations get underway

290414 NQ2014


Today marks the start of National Qualifications exams for tens of thousands of young people across Scotland.

A full range of exams will be taken including those for the new National 5, developed to support Curriculum for Excellence which has delivered a fresh approach to learning and teaching. In addition to the new exams pupils will also be sitting Intermediates, Highers and Advanced Highers over the next six weeks.

In total, more than 147,000 candidates are taking SQA qualifications this year and will be receiving their results on Tuesday 5 August.

Of these, more than 135,000 candidates in 561 schools and colleges are taking qualifications, which include an exam as part of the external assessment, marked by SQA.

These candidates will sit more than 550,000 exams from National 5 and Intermediates to Advanced Higher, starting today with Modern Studies at a number of levels including National 5, and concluding on Friday 6 June with Early Education and Childcare at Higher.

The marks from the exams will be combined with those from coursework, projects and results from internal assessments which candidates will have undertaken in schools and colleges, through the year. Taken together, these will determine candidates’ overall results.

There will also be a number of candidates certificated on Tuesday 5 August, for qualifications that are internally assessed by schools and colleges and quality assured by SQA. These include the new National 1, National 2, National 3 and National 4 qualifications, Skills for Work Courses and the existing Access qualifications.

Dr Janet Brown, Chief Executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer, said: "Good qualifications are more important today than ever - and I send my very best wishes to all candidates sitting their National 5, Intermediates, Highers and Advanced Highers over the coming weeks as well as to those who are completing Access, National 1 – National 4 qualifications and Skills for Work Courses. Their hard work and dedication will stand them in good stead to achieve their desired results.”

Dr Brown continued, “SQA provides a wide range of qualifications to meet the varied needs of Scotland’s young people and economy. The new qualifications are designed to provide the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to prepare students for further study, employment or training and are a natural continuation of the way pupils have learned under Curriculum for Excellence. These qualifications are modern, relevant, flexible and practical and designed to equip young people with a wide range of skills.

"There is more of a focus on coursework in the new qualifications, to ensure learners are consolidating and can apply the skills and knowledge they have developed throughout the year – and ensure their qualifications reflect that.”

Dr Alasdair Allan, Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages, said: “Today is a day that thousands of pupils in schools across Scotland have been eagerly working towards throughout the school year. It also marks a new era in Scottish education, with new National qualifications introduced as part of Curriculum for Excellence. I extend my best wishes to all candidates preparing for exams over the next few weeks.

“The Scottish Government, working closely with the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Education Scotland, has provided an unprecedented level of support to help teachers and schools prepare for Curriculum for Excellence and the National Qualifications. We want to see every young person leave school with the best qualifications and skills they can. I am fully confident everything has been done to prepare teachers, schools and pupils for these new qualifications.”

Each year, SQA’s in-house team of  assessment experts is supported by some 15,000 ‘appointees’ who help to set, invigilate and mark over one million exam scripts and quality assure the internal assessments. Dr Brown added: “We rely on the expertise of our appointees, who bring huge experience from the educational sector in Scotland. I thank them, and SQA's own hard-working staff, for their continued highly-valued support and commitment to maintaining high standards."

Candidates who have signed up and activated their personal MySQA accounts are reminded they can choose to receive their results by text and/or email by 9am on Tuesday 5 August. They need to log onto and register by Tuesday 8 July and activate their account by Wednesday 16 July.  So far, more than 33,000 candidates have registered for the service. In addition to electronic delivery, all candidates will continue to receive their results by post on Tuesday 5 August.





National Course Assessment Survey 2014

SQA seeks to maintain qualification and assessment standards from year to year. This is an important aspect of the quality of our Course assessments (question papers, performances, practical activities etc.). We are, therefore, asking teachers, lecturers and learners to provide feedback on this year’s Course assessments.

The survey is now closed. Download the Summary of results from the 2014 National Course Assessment Survey (56 KB).

The answers to the survey will be added to the information we will consider when we evaluate the Course assessments. The deadline for responses is Friday 4 July 2014.