How we select centres for verification - National Qualifications

Qualification groups

For the purposes of verification, courses are grouped into subject verification groups (eg French, Spanish, German or Italian), and then into a broad subject qualification group (eg Modern Languages). Typically, centres will not be selected for more than one verification group within a qualification group in each academic session. Download Qualification Groups for 2016-17. (12 KB)

Using this approach helps us manage the volume of verification across a centre.

In each qualification group we verify:

  1. centres who are new to delivery in the qualification group as a whole. That is, centres entering candidates in a new course in a qualification group in which they have not previously entered candidates for any course or there has been no previous verification activity.
  2. centres with not accepted outcomes in the previous session or the most recent verification activity within a qualification group.

In addition, we also do a proportion of ‘random’ selections. Although the term 'random' has been used to describe this, the likelihood of selection is based on a number of criteria, including length of time since last verification, the outcome of verification, centre entry patterns, historic subject level data and intelligence. In 2016/17 and 2017/18, there will be no ‘random’ selection for unit verification, but there will continue to be for Internally Assessed Course Component Assessments (IACCAs) and National 4 Added Value Units (AVUs).

Where centres are eligible for selection under any of these criteria, the selection can be for any course within the wider qualification group.

Selection of units for verification

In May, the Scottish Government published the report of the ‘Working Group on Assessment and National Qualifications’.

In line with the findings of this report, SQA are significantly reducing the volume of unit verification in 2016/17 and 2017/18. We will verify units for the new National Qualification at centres which received not accepted outcomes, or who are new to delivery within the qualification group. The suspension of the ‘random sample’ element of selections means there will be no additional verification of units (excluding the National 4 Added Value unit) beyond this. 

Please note that the reduction of unit verification is only for National Qualifications, and does not apply to other qualification areas such as Skills for Work.

Selection of course assessments, including National 4 Added Value Unit

Course assessments (including National 4 Added Value Units) remain the cornerstones of the National Qualifications at National 4 and above.  As with unit verification we will verify units for National Qualifications at centres which received not accepted outcomes or who are new to delivery within the qualification group.

In addition, in order to maintain standards and uphold confidence in the National Qualifications, we will continue to use a proportionate and intelligence-led approach to selection that includes a ‘random sample’ element of selection. We carefully review the outcomes of verification and other intelligence each year to ensure we are conducting appropriate amounts of verification in each subject.