National Qualifications - external verification

External verification is the process SQA uses to assure the quality of internal assessment, including internal verification, in centres. SQA uses two main methods of external verification - event and visiting.

What are the different types of external verification?

National Qualifications verification 2019-20

There will be two rounds of external verification in 2019-20.

Centres that have been selected for verification will be informed before each round to allow time to prepare materials for the uplift and/or the visit.


Verification windows

Assessments covered by Verification

Round 1

Events: February 2020 (material uplift for events 14 January 2020)

Visiting: February 2020


  • National 1-2
  • National 3-4

Round 2

Events: May 2020 (material uplift 21 April 2020)

Visiting: March to May 2020


  • National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

Added Value Units:

  • National 4


  • National 1-2
  • SCQF level 5-7
  • specified units at any level

NQ Physical Education course assessment 

Visiting: August 2019 to May 2020


National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

Selections are based on historical entry patterns and live entry data. We will review live entries during the year and may, as a result, make extra selections. Find out more about how we select centres for verification.

Generating the sample

Details of how to construct the sample of evidence will be provided with the selections. The requirements are also outlined in our Generating the evidence sample document (221 KB). Six candidates per level, and no fewer than 12 overall, must be provided, where possible.

In some cases we will request that centres provide evidence from specific candidates rather than the centre choosing the sample for us.

What evidence do you need to provide for verification?

Your SQA Co-ordinator will be informed of all planned verification activity through SQA Connect.

Guidance on evidence required for external verification of Units is provided in the following documents:

Guidance on evidence required for external verification of internally-assessed Components of Course assessment is provided in the following document:

If you are considering submitting work in a digital format, please read the e-submission guidance document (190 KB).

Interim evidence guidance

Interim evidence is material provided by a candidate for a unit they have not yet completed.

If selected for verification, complete unit evidence should always be provided for verification where it is available. Interim evidence should be provided for verification where complete unit evidence is not yet available.

Please read the Interim evidence guidance for further information.

Guidance on retention of evidence

Centres must retain all candidate assessment evidence for new National Qualifications until the end of the academic year (31 July). However, if a centre enters a candidate for any of the free standing units at SCQF levels 5 and 6 after the closing date, evidence must be retained until 30 September.

Verification outcomes

There are three possible outcomes of verification:

If the outcome is Not Accepted, SQA will work with the centre to ensure that the correct follow-up actions are completed. In all cases, centres will receive an outcome report which will provide feedback on the approach to assessment and assessment judgements.


Centres that wish to appeal a Not Accepted outcome should follow the guidance outlined in the Appeals Process document.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the verification process, please contact the NQ Verification team at