National Qualifications: Overview of Quality Assurance

Science Class

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:

How does quality assurance work?

  1. 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:

The Understanding Standards resources and materials can support centres in the development of their internal verification processes.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

Who is involved in quality assurance

Appointees

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.

Nominees

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.