Making Good Assessment Decisions

The broad general education and the senior phase

As learners progress from their broad general education to the senior phase, it is important to ensure coherence and consistency in curriculum planning. Coherence across the areas listed below is key to successful progression within schools:

To ensure that learning in the senior phase builds appropriately on earlier learning, the new National Qualifications build on the fourth curriculum level and the hierarchy of qualifications has been designed to ensure smooth progression across SCQF levels.

The Building the Curriculum 3 framework explains:

‘This should ensure a smooth progression through the learning experience from curriculum areas into qualifications.’


‘Qualifications should both reflect the learning that has taken place and develop pathways to the next stage of learning and life.’

The CfE Management Board Reflections Group recognises the importance of coherence and consistency and has asked SQA and Education Scotland to:

Further information can be found in the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board Report of the Working Group on the First Year of the new National Qualifications

In support of this, SQA and Education Scotland have produced resources for education professionals. These resources may also be of interest to parents and carers who wish to understand more about why and how we ensure good assessment decisions are made across all schools and colleges throughout Scotland.

Making Good Assessment Decisions videos

The Making Good Assessment Decisions videos look at how assessment decisions are linked between the broad general education and the senior phase, and show examples of a departmental approach and a whole-school approach to making good assessment decisions.

View the Making Good Assessment Decisions videos

Event materials

School Co-ordinator Conference June 2014 Transitions to the Senior Phase PowerPoint presentation

Understanding Standards

We have produced annotated exemplification of curriculum levels, from early years to the fourth level, in partnership with Education Scotland. Each exemplar contains a mixture of annotated exemplification, pupil voice and practitioner notes/reflection. The exemplars show work that is deemed to typify the achievement of a specific level or, in the case of fourth level exemplars, work that is typical of a learner who is currently working at fourth level.

We have also published a range of Understanding Standards materials to assist with developing understanding of the national standards that should be applied when assessing candidates’ work. Candidate evidence and commentary packs for Unit assessment in the new National Qualifications are also available. You will find this material under each subject on our secure website. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.

Comparison of achievement at the fourth curriculum level and assessment evidence at National 4/SCQF level 4 may help practitioners to make decisions about learner progression and assist with acknowledging prior attainment in the Broad General Education in the Senior Phase.

Quality assuring the new National Qualifications videos

The quality assurance videos show how assessment decisions are quality assured, from broad general education through to senior phase, to maintain the same standard across Scotland.

View the Quality assuring the new National Qualifications videos

Visit our quality assurance web pages for further information.