E-assessment and Learning

In recent years, SQA has set out a vision and strategy for e-assessment and learning (EAL) which includes online support for learning and e-assessment of our qualifications. In the coming years, we will make e-assessment available for many more of our qualifications. It is our intention to develop e-assessment for all new qualifications where it is appropriate, to bring about a step change for our centres and learners. We believe that making e-assessment part of our normal day-to-day business will enhance the experience of learners and all those involved in the delivery of SQA qualifications.

There is a section of our website dedicated to e-assessment and online support for learning ICON: Internal Link.

E-assessment of our qualifications


Solar GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window. started as a project partly funded by the Scottish Funding Council to develop, and deliver online, automatically-marked summative assessments to Scotland’s colleges, primarily to support the modernisation of Higher National Qualifications. Further funding was obtained from the European Social Fund (ESF) and our HN Modernisation project. Solar continues to develop and make available a growing number of summative assessments, and is also developing banks of question items which can be used by teachers to create formative assessments.

The ESF-funded Transforming Scottish Education Through Technology (TranSETT) Project ICON: Internal Link has also enabled a number of high-uptake National Certificates and National Progression Awards to be enhanced through the creation of e-assessments, which will be made available for use through the Solar system in 2009.

We are developing e-assessment across 13 vocational areas for Higher National Qualifications, and across 16 vocational areas for National Certificates and National Progression Awards.

Internet safety

In 2008, we introduced the first National Qualification relating to internet safety ICON: Internal Link in the EU. The qualification, developed in collaboration with external partners including BT, Microsoft, and Strathclyde Police, is intended for anyone who uses the internet and wants to protect themselves while they are online. It’s particularly suitable for young people, small businesses, and online shoppers.

Internet Safety is the first ‘e-only’ qualification we offer, and it encourages innovative teaching approaches. In 2008, 544 learners at 31 centres (12 schools, 17 colleges, and 2 training providers) were entered for Internet Safety.

Skills for Work — SQA Deskspace e-portfolio

SQA Deskspace GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window. is an innovative e-portfolio system designed to enhance teaching and learning in schools and colleges. It can do so by enabling learners to build up a diverse collection of items related to their studies or personal development. It also enables teachers to share information with their learners, provide feedback on progress, and support assessment processes.

Following a successful pilot in 2007 using SQA Deskspace to support a range of Skills for Work courses ICON: Internal Link, the e-portfolio is now available to all centres delivering Skills for Work courses as part of the ESF-funded Skills for Scotland ICON: Internal Link project.

Skills for Work — Games-based assessment

As part of the Skills for Scotland project, SQA is developing games-based assessment for a range of subject areas. 3D environments have been developed for two Skills for Work areas — Health Sector ICON: Internal Link and Retailing ICON: Internal Link. Assessment tasks in these virtual environments are based on National Assessment Bank materials. The environments and assessment tasks will become available in 2009.


For several years, SQA has provided centres with electronic versions of National Assessment Bank items (e-NABs (487 KB)) for the Higher Mathematics Course. These include e-assessments that offer learners different levels of help and feedback, with randomised parameters for formative use in the teaching and learning situation, as well as summative end-of-Unit assessments.

In 2008 there were 1,388 learners registered to use the e-NABs — over 7% of Higher Mathematics learners.

Online support for learning


SQA recently collaborated with the other organisations which regulate qualifications in the UK to develop E-assessment: Guide to Effective Practice. This guide covers two key aspects of e-assessment: the management and delivery of e-testing, and the use of e-portfolios for assessment. We also collaborated to produce Regulatory Principles for E-assessment, (557 KB) to encourage innovative practice in e-assessment.

Understanding Standards website

Our Understanding Standards website GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window. gives teachers online access to assessment guidelines for their subjects, and the opportunity to develop their own assessment skills online. Users can consider the principles that underlie the marking of exams and then apply this understanding by marking candidate responses and comparing the marks they give to those given by the marking team.

SQA Academy

SQA Academy GRAPHIC: Web Link icon - accessing this link will open a new window. aims to enhance professional practice in the development and assessment of our qualifications. It does this by extending and enhancing the training and development opportunities available to those who contribute to the assessment processes that underpin our qualifications.

Some SQA Academy courses link to the Professional Recognition framework of the General Teaching Council for Scotland. SQA Academy and Scotland's Colleges have also created a unique suite of staff development opportunities using a blended learning approach. Furthermore, we are working closely with the Scottish Government in setting up blended courses for Scottish Survey of Achievement (SSA) Field Officers and Moderators.

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