Validation is the quality assurance process SQA uses to ensure all new and revised qualifications are valid, credible and fit for purpose. It is sometimes referred to as subject validation.

With the exception of Graded Units, all other Units making up a Group Award are validated through a series of quality checks prior to the validation of the Group Award. Graded Units relate to the principal aims of the Group Award so their validation is addressed as part of the Group Award validation.

Group Award validation focuses on the justification for, and coherence and technical specification of a proposed qualification but also checks the proposal against a set of criteria (30 KB) designed to ensure that SQA provision is fit for purpose.

Validation of Group Awards

The validation method used by SQA is determined by various factors including specialism, size and structure. As a general rule one of the following methods will be used:

Centres with devolved authority for validating Group Awards decide on the validation method to be used.  Where a meeting of subject experts is chosen, the centre are responsible for hosting the validation meeting and all associated costs.  Important note: an SQA Officer must be included in the validation process to ensure compliance with SQA's validation criteria.

Note: HNC/Ds cannot be delivered outside Scotland therefore centres developing HNC/D Group Awards must make it clear to SQA from the outset their intentions for delivery and assessment of an HNC/D equivalent (Advanced Certificate or Diploma - ACD) in a country other than Scotland.

Reminder: Centres with Devolved Authority

As we said at the beginning of this document, these guidelines apply where SQA manages the validation process, ie where a centre does not have devolved authority for the validation of SQA qualifications. Centres with devolved authority for the validation of Group Awards have full responsibility for validation using their own systems. You may choose to follow these guidelines, or to use guidelines of your own.