SQA Qualifications: Internal Verification Toolkit
What is internal verification and how can it help you?
An internal verification system helps centres ensure that all assessments being offered are valid, reliable, practicable, equitable and fair. It also helps assessors to apply the standards of assessment uniformly and consistently.
Centres that develop effective internal verification systems are helping to safeguard the quality of all the SQA qualifications they offer.
- helps ensure all assessors understand national standards and can apply them
- facilitates collaboration between assessors and internal verifiers at all assessment sites
- enables and ensures fair, accurate and consistent assessment judgements
- supports the credibility of internally assessed Units and Awards
- allows quality concerns to be identified and addressed
- helps protect assessors against challenges to professional assessment judgements
- supports preparation for successful external verification
In this toolkit, the terms ‘assessor’ and ‘internal verifier’ are used throughout.
‘Assessor’ refers to a person making assessment decisions in relation to SQA Units/Awards. They may be using SQA assessments, or devising their own assessments, in line with the assessment strategy or guidance for the qualification.
The ‘internal verifier’:
- supports assessors in understanding and applying national standards
- collaborates with assessors and other internal verifiers to ensure assessment approaches are fit-for-purpose
- samples the assessment judgements of assessors to ensure they are valid and reliable
Models of internal verification
The model of internal verification used is at the discretion of the centre. The approach to internal verification that you choose needs to work within the context of your own centre.
Whichever model you choose, under no circumstances should the internal verifier verify their own assessment judgements or assessments that they have devised.
There are several approaches, including:
- You could allocate responsibility to named members of staff for carrying out internal verification relating to particular Units/Awards. This has the advantage of giving the designated internal verifier a view of all assessment activities relating to the Units/Awards they are responsible for quality assuring.
- Alternatively, you could allocate responsibility to named members of staff for carrying out internal verification relating to particular assessors. This is particularly appropriate where the Units/Awards contain a high degree of performance evidence (as do many S/NVQs Units), and it makes good quality assurance sense to use methods that gauge how assessor judgements are made. In this case, methods such as conducting dual/peer observations can prove useful.
- All members of staff could take responsibility for both assessing and internally verifying Units. This has the advantage of allowing all staff to take part in assessment and verification, helping to promote an in-depth understanding of Unit/Award requirements and facilitating standardisation by, for example, the cross-marking of colleagues’ assessments.
If you need guidance on choosing an approach to verification, please see our FAQs (132 KB) and use our Internal Verification Self-Assessment Form (136 KB). We recommend that you read Sections 2 to 4 before you consider the self-assessment.
The stages of internal verification
Internal verification can be divided into three stages:
- Plan (pre-delivery and understanding standards)
- Do (ongoing support for assessor and sampling of student evidence)
- Review (post-delivery reflection and review)
The Internal Verification Toolkit allows you to think about the activities you undertake at each of these stages.
It is important that key activities relating to internal verification are documented. Primarily, this will support you in managing internal assessment and verification, and planning for improvement. It will also allow you to demonstrate to SQA that an effective internal verification system is in place.
The Internal Verification Toolkit provides templates you can use to successfully support an effective internal verification process.
- Pre-delivery and Understanding Standards
- Support and Sampling During Delivery
- Post-Delivery Review