Title/Summary

Awarding 2023

Information on modifications for 2023.

FAQs

How will National Courses be assessed in session 2022-23?

After careful consideration, and reflecting on the feedback we received from learners, teachers, lecturers, and parents and carers – as well as SQA's Advisory Council - we have decided to keep the current types of modifications to assessment in full for each course in session 2022-23.

This applies to National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses, and some National 3 and National 4 courses that already have modifications to assessment in place. The removal of the requirement for learners to complete National 4 added value units will also continue for session 2022-23.

What are 'modifications to course assessment' and why were they put in place?

We made changes to the assessment of National Courses at the start of session 2020-21 (which we refer to as 'modifications') in response to the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The modifications were designed to help reduce the volume of assessment and ease the workload of learners, teachers, and lecturers.

Depending on the course, these modifications included:

  • removing an exam or an item of coursework
  • removing or reducing elements of an exam and/or coursework
  • providing more choice in an assessment
  • removing a topic or topics from the exam
  • providing advance notice of topics, contexts or content that will or will not be directly assessed*

For most courses, these modifications have remained in place for session 2021-22. For some courses, we adjusted the modifications to respond to changes in public health guidance or to support opportunities for learners to demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

View a summary of the modifications to assessment in National Courses

*Our qualification teams will review the topics, contexts or content that will or will not be directly assessed in session 2022-23 and we will provide more information on this in due course.

Why are you keeping the modifications to assessment in full for all National Courses?

We decided not to return to the full course specifications in session 2022-23, as keeping the modifications to assessment for all courses will help to provide stability and support to learners, teachers, lecturers, and other practitioners delivering National Courses. This is particularly important given the ongoing disruption to learning and teaching, and the varying impacts the COVID-19 pandemic has had on learners in different parts of the country.

If the modifications to assessment are staying in place for session 2022-23, does this mean there is no requirement to teach the full course content?

These are modifications to assessment only. There is no change to the content of National Courses, so teachers and lecturers should continue to deliver the full course content with their learners. It is important that learners have opportunities to develop and demonstrate the required skills, knowledge and understanding from across the whole course, as outlined in the course specifications. This will support them as they progress to the next stage in their learning.

Do learners need to complete National 4 added value units in session 2022-23?

No. We removed the requirement for learners to complete National 4 added value units in sessions 2020-21 and 2021-22, in response to the ongoing disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and this will continue for session 2022-23. This will help to free up more time for learning and teaching, and for assessing other units in National 4 courses, where this is needed.

While there is no requirement for learners to complete the added value unit in session 2022-23, it is still important that learners have opportunities to develop and demonstrate the required skills, knowledge and understanding from across the course that are outlined in the National 4 added value unit specification. This will support learners as they progress to further learning and assessment at SCQF level 5.

What did SQA consider when first putting the modifications to assessment in place and when reviewing the modifications for sessions 2021-22 and 2022-23?

We adopted a principles-driven approach to identify the modifications to assessment in each course. The core principles are:

  • Fairness to all learners
  • Safe and secure certification of qualifications, while following the latest public health advice.
  • Maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualification system, ensuring that learners can have confidence in the continued high standards they have worked hard to achieve. This is important for those who hold qualificataions now, for those who will achieve them in the future and for further and higher education establishments and employers.

How did you gather the views of learners, teachers, lecturers, parents, and carers on whether the modifications should stay in place for session 2022-23?

We ran a series of 'pulse surveys' to give us a picture of the current views of teachers and lecturers, learners, parents, and carers. We also surveyed members of our Learner Panel, which represents the views of young people, and members of our National Qualification Support Teams and subject networks (groups of stakeholders, including practicing teachers and lecturers, who provide us with feedback on the assessments for each course). We also sought expert advice from SQA's, which has membership drawn from across the education sector, including head teachers, and representatives from universities, colleges, and training providers.

Find out more about SQA's advisory council.

Will you remove the modifications to assessment from session 2023-24 onwards?

We are continuing to monitor the state of the COVID-19 pandemic carefully and are working with the National Qualifications Steering Group on arrangements for assessing National Qualifications in session 2022-23.

It is too early to confirm whether we will return to full course specifications in session 2023-24, however we will carefully consider this as we progress through session 2022-23. We will continue to gather the views of teachers, lecturers, learners, parents and carers, and the groups that represent them.

How can I help to shape future decisions about qualifications and assessment?

SQA is keen to hear your views and has set up panels of teaching professionals, learners, parents, and carers to gain a picture of what different groups think about important issues.

Find out how to get involved.

How will Higher National and Vocational Qualifications (HNVQ) be assessed in session 2022-23?

The current alternative assessment approaches for Higher National and Vocational Qualifications (HNVQ) will continue for session 2022-23.

View the alternative assessment approaches.

These alternative assessment approaches have been in place since 2020 to assist centres with the impact of COVID-19, enabling staff and learners to focus on learning and teaching while safeguarding the integrity of assessment and qualifications.

To which qualifications do the alternative assessment approaches for HNVQ apply?

These arrangements apply to the following qualifications:

  • Higher National Certificates and Diplomas
  • SQA Advanced Certificates and Diplomas
  • Professional Development Awards
  • National Progression Awards
  • National Certificates
  • Skills for Work
  • Awards
  • internally assessed free-standing National Units and centre-devised courses comprising clusters of SQA units

What about regulated qualifications?

The alternative assessment approaches for HNVQ do not apply to regulated units and group awards, such as Scottish Vocational Qualifications and VQ units. For qualifications regulated by SQA Accreditation or Ofqual, centres should consult directly with the regulators' websites.