National Qualifications - external verification

External verification is the process SQA uses to assure the quality of internal assessment, including internal verification, in centres. SQA uses two main methods of external verification - event and visiting.

What are the different types of external verification?

National Qualifications verification 2016-17

There will be two rounds of external verification in 2016-17.

Centres that have been selected for verification will be informed before each round to allow time to prepare materials for the uplift and/or the visit.


Verification windows

Assessments covered by Verification

Round 1

February 2017 (material uplift for events 17 January 2017)


  • National 1-2
  • National 3-5
  • Higher and Advanced Higher

Round 2

Events: May 2017 (material uplift 24 April 2017)

Visiting: March to May 2017


  • National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

Added Value Units:

  • National 4

Individual targeted units:

  • any level

Selections are based on historical entry patterns. We will review live entries during the year and may, as a result, make extra selections. Find out more about selecting centres for verification.

Centres may themselves request external verification of any unit(s) or IACCA(s) during rounds 1 and 2. If you would like to request verification, please email with details of the qualification, level(s) and unit(s) and/or IACCA(s) you would like verified. Requests for round 1 must be submitted by Monday 14 November 2016. Requests for round 2 must be submitted by Friday 13 January 2017.

Generating the sample

Details of how to construct the sample of evidence will be provided with the selections. The requirements are also outlined in our Generating the evidence sample document (221 KB). Six candidates per level, and no fewer than 12 overall, must be provided, where possible.

What evidence do you need to provide for verification?

Your SQA Co-ordinator will be informed of all planned verification activity through SQA Connect.

Guidance on evidence required for external verification of Units is provided in the following documents:

Guidance on evidence required for external verification of internally-assessed Components of Course assessment is provided in the following document:

If you are considering submitting work in a digital format, please read the e-submission guidance document  (190 KB).

Interim evidence guidance

Interim evidence is material provided by a candidate for a Unit they have not yet completed.

If selected for verification, complete Unit evidence should always be provided for verification where it is available. Interim evidence should be provided for verification where complete Unit evidence is not yet available.

Please read the Interim evidence guidance for further information.

Guidance on retention of evidence

Centres must retain all candidate assessment evidence for new National Qualifications until the end of the academic year (31 July).

Verification outcomes

There are four possible outcomes of verification:

If the outcome is Not Accepted or Verification Cannot Proceed, SQA will work with the centre to ensure that the correct follow-up actions are completed. In all cases, centres will receive an outcome report which will provide feedback on the approach to assessment and assessment judgements.


Centres that wish to appeal a Not Accepted outcome should follow the guidance outlined in the Appeals Process document.

Verification Key messages

After each round of verification, SQA publishes subject-specific key messages that have been identified by the verification teams.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the verification process, please contact the NQ Verification team at