National Qualifications: Overview of Quality Assurance
SQA and centres running SQA qualifications have a shared responsibility for quality assuring the internally assessed elements of National Qualifications. SQA works in partnership with centres, to support teachers and lecturers throughout the assessment cycle to get assessment standards right.
The quality assurance arrangements:
- ensure continued credibility of National Qualifications
- facilitate the partnership approach of CfE
- support sharing of knowledge and understanding of national standards
- increase confidence in assessment decisions
- support flexible delivery of our National Qualifications
How does quality assurance work?
- Understanding Standards
The Understanding Standards programme aims to develop understanding of the national assessment standards in each subject area.
The Understanding Standards programme consists of:
- materials designed to help teachers and lecturers gain a greater understanding of how to apply national standards in their subject area
- nominee training events, where nominees receive subject-specific training
- training events focused on the course assessment.
The Understanding Standards resources and materials can support centres in the development of their internal verification processes.
- Internal verification
Internal verification is a supportive process designed to ensure that internal assessment is robust. Centres are responsible for their own internal verification processes. SQA has produced the Internal Verification Toolkit to support you with developing your own practice.
- Prior verification
Prior verification is a free service offered to centres that devise their own assessments, or that significantly change SQA’s assessments to suit their particular local needs. The service gives centres additional confidence that their proposed assessment is fit for purpose and meets national standards. Information and guidance is available on our prior verification page.
- External verification
External verification is the process we use to assure the quality of internal assessment, including internal verification, in centres. Event verification and visiting verification are used.
- Event verification involves evidence being collected from centres and verified by a team of appointees and nominees.
- Visiting verification involves an appointee visiting the centre and reviewing evidence there.
Who is involved in quality assurance
In each subject area, all quality assurance activities are overseen by an expert team of appointees, who are teachers and lecturers experienced in assessment. Appointees in each subject area include a Principal Verifier, a Depute Principal Verifier and Team Leaders.
- Principal Verifiers are responsible for overseeing all quality assurance activity for internal assessment within their subject area. They ensure that national standards are applied and maintained, and are responsible for training the team.
- Depute Principal Verifiers support the Principal Verifier in overseeing quality assurance activities, and will deputise for the Principal Verifier when required.
- Team Leaders directly support the work of nominees and carry out quality assurance activities themselves.
- Visiting Verifiers carry out quality assurance activities in centres.
Together with our partners, we have created a nationwide network of nominees who support you to understand assessment standards. SQA provides all nominees with comprehensive quality assurance training and support to enable them to share their understanding of standards with colleagues. Nominees also take part in external verification activities, and are supervised by senior appointees.
Making Good Assessment Decisions
In partnership with Education Scotland, we have produced resources that look at how we ensure good assessment decisions are made across all centres throughout Scotland. To view these resources visit our Making Good Assessment Decisions web page.