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?
- Event verification - if selected for event verification, evidence will be uplifted from your centre and verified at a central event by a team of nominees and appointees who are trained in assessment and verification
- Visiting verification - if selected for visiting verification, an SQA appointee will visit your centre to review evidence. They will contact you in advance to arrange the visit.
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.
Assessments covered by Verification
February 2017 (material uplift for events 17 January 2017)
Events: May 2017 (material uplift 24 April 2017)
Visiting: March to May 2017
Added Value Units:
Individual targeted units:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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:
- Type of verification for Units (including Added Value Units) (124 KB)
- Evidence for visiting verification
- Evidence for verification events
Guidance on evidence required for external verification of internally-assessed Components of Course assessment is provided in the following document:
- Evidence for external verification of National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher internally-assessed Components of Course assessment (514 KB)
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).
There are four possible outcomes of verification:
- Accepted - the centre's assessment approach and judgements are fully in line with national standards.
- Accepted* - the centre's assessment approach and judgements are in line with national standards, but there are suggested recommendations to improve assessment.
- Not Accepted - there are significant issues with the internal assessment approach and/or judgements. Required Actions are specified which must be completed. Certification can only take place once these are resolved.
- Verification Cannot Proceed (VCP) - insufficient or incorrect evidence has been provided. Required Actions are specified which must be completed before verification can proceed.
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 and common key messages that have been identified by the verification teams.
- Subject-specific key messages can be found on the subject pages
- NQ verification 2015-16 common key messages (350 KB)
- NQ Verification 2013-14 common key messages
- NQ Verification 2014-15 common key messages (1.36 MB)
If you have any questions about the verification process, please contact the NQ Verification team at NQVerification@sqa.org.uk.