English and Communication: Quality Assurance - external verification

External verification is part of SQA's quality assurance process designed to ensure that a centre's assessment approach and assessment judgements are valid, reliable and meet national standards.

All SQA internal assessments must be internally verified by centres.

Unit assessment

The new qualifications offer opportunities for personalisation and choice. With the exception of the National 4 Added Value Unit where more precise specification is required, teachers and lecturers have more flexibility to determine the most appropriate methods of assessment for individual learners, and to use their professional judgement in determining whether or not a candidate's evidence meets the Outcomes and Assessment Standards of the Unit.

Any evidence for assessment must be of a type that allows valid judgements to be made against Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Candidate evidence for Unit assessment in this subject is therefore likely to include some of the following:

  • text, which might include graphical or pictorial elements, including printable electronic
  • electronic product that is not printable (eg digital media, audio-visual)
  • oral presentation or other oral response
  • performance
  • other ephemeral evidence of skills

SQA has anticipated that all Units for this subject are likely to have portable evidence suitable for submission to SQA for a verification event. Guidance on evidence to be submitted for a verification event can be found in Evidence for verification events document.

The types of evidence submitted for external verification will influence the quality of feedback External Verifiers are able to give to centres. For National 2 Units, while observation checklists will often be used as a means of recording evidence, centres are encouraged to submit for external verification other forms of evidence, if available, to supplement their checklist evidence. This will allow External Verifiers to provide more detailed and meaningful feedback. Additional guidance on evidence for verification of National 2 Units (116 KB) is available.

If recordings of performances are made for the purposes of verification, centres must ensure that the quality is sufficiently high to allow an External Verifier to verify the centre's assessment judgements.

Much of the evidence for assessment at National 2 is likely to be naturally-occurring — produced during learning and teaching rather than in response to an assessment task. For verification purposes, centres should ensure that they provide sufficient details of any direction or instructions used in this context to allow the External Verifier to assess the validity of the centre's assessment judgements of that evidence.