Section 2

In response to the recommendations made in the evaluation and consultation reports, SQA and the HN Key Partners’ Group have put in place a number of measures to address the issues raised. These are as follows:

1. Assessment

In response to concerns from some centres regarding too much assessment in some HNC/HNDs, SQA:

  • has produced guidance for Qualification Design Teams to ensure that each HNC/HND has an assessment strategy. This will be necessary for a successful validation and, once confirmed, the assessment strategy will be included in the Arrangements Document
  • will continue to work on guidance on integrated and holistic assessment

In response to comments from some centres regarding too many Exam-based Graded Units in HNC/HNDs, SQA:

  • has enhanced and clarified its guidance on the use of exam-based Graded Units in consortium developed HNC/Ds.  For HNC/HND year 1 and for double-credit Graded Units in year 2 of HNDs, the inclusion of Exam-based Graded Units will be by exception. An internal SQA committee will have to approve the inclusion of Exam-based Graded Units if an exception is identified and requested.

2. HN Key Partners’ Group

The HN Key Partners’ group has been reconstituted with a refreshed membership and revised remit. Linda McTavish, Principal of Anniesland College, has agreed to continue as Chair of this group and details of the new membership and proposals for revised remit can be found on our website at The first meeting of the reconstituted group will take place in May 2009.

3. Interagency working

SQA, COLEG and SFEU have agreed on two main ways of ensuring more joined-up thinking and working.  They have:

  • agreed a protocol for enhancing communication by using Qualification Support Teams as the conduit for the exchange of information on staff development and support material needs
  • improved the links to each other’s websites, which will make it easier for people to find links to relevant material/training/qualifications on related agencies’ websites.

4. Qualification Support Teams

SQA has produced guidance on Best Practice for Qualification Support Teams.  This includes a revised process for recruiting members to serve on QSTs.

5. Communication

In order to maintain a coherent catalogue, centres have agreed to continue to consult with SQA on new or revised HN qualifications.  To assist with this:

SQA will:

  • Provide a global planning tool, which gives up-to-date information on all SQA qualifications.  This will help centres identify current qualifications in the catalogue, dates for revision, and information about new developments.

Centres will:

  • Follow the established process using the forms provided in the Qualification Development Toolkit to inform and consult SQA on plans for revision to qualifications or proposals for the development of a new qualification.

Centres are also strongly encouraged to use the Comment Form to provide feedback to SQA on any aspect of an existing qualification.  Comments should be sent to

Centres using these established mechanisms will assist SQA in ensuring that all proposals for, and feedback on, qualifications are passed to the appropriate SQA officers and followed up.

6. Marketing and Promotion

To ensure a more coherent marketing approach to HNC/HNDs, SQA:

  • is working with Scotland’s Colleges marketing network to explore ways of marketing and promoting HNs. 
  • will produce a set of student profiles (funded by the HN Project Board). Centres will be able to use these profiles in their own marketing.

Centres can assist SQA by continuing to:

  • send HNC/HND case studies to SQA’s Marketing Department
  • liaise with SQA’s Marketing Department on any aspect of marketing or promotion of HNC/HNDs

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