Understanding Standards

Understanding Standards logo

Understanding Standards is SQA's support programme for teachers and lecturers delivering National Qualifications. We have a wide range of subject-specific resources that explain the standards required in SQA assessments and contain examples of candidate evidence. 

Understanding Standards can help you build your confidence in preparing learners for assessment. 

Support for assessing National Qualifications in 2021

While SQA's range of Understanding Standards materials remain relevant for session 2020-21, we are also providing additional resources to support teachers and lecturers with gathering evidence and determining provisional results for National 5 to Advanced Higher. 

This includes new candidate evidence and commentary materials, webinars, audio presentations, and video and audio resources. 

These resources form an important and integral part of quality assurance in session 2020-21. They can also be used by Communities of Practice, at local authority events, and subject networks, as a focus for professional dialogue in relation to National Qualifications and their assessment

Upcoming webinars

Book a place using our online events booking system.

Attending a webinar can contribute to your Continued Professional Development (CPD). CPD certificates will be available on our Events Booking System shortly after each webinar.

We record each of our live webinars and publish them on our website so you can access them at any time. 

Audio presentations

Our pre-recorded audio presentations are similar to webinars and are available for a range of subjects. 

Candidate evidence and commentary materials

We regularly publish examples of candidate assessment evidence (including media files where appropriate to the subject), along with written commentaries that explain why the evidence has or has not met the required assessment standards. This includes video and audio recordings of performance-based assessments in subjects like Dance, Drama and Music.

Practical skills videos

We have produced practical skills videos for some practical-based subjects, such as Photography, Fashion and Textile Technology and Practical Woodworking. These demonstrate some of the skills and techniques that can be used in assessments or explain how to assess a finished product.

Where to access Understanding Standards materials

Please refer to your NQ subject page for links to published Understanding Standards resources, which are available from the Understanding Standards website. Some Understanding Standards materials are also available from the SQA Secure website for assessments where the evidence must remain secure.