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 methods of external verification - event and visiting.

  • Event verification - if selected for event verification, evidence will be uplifted from your centre and verified at a central event by a team of appointees who are trained in assessment and verification
  • Visiting verification - if selected for visiting verification, an appointee will visit your centre to review evidence. They will contact you in advance to arrange the visit.

There will be two rounds of external verification in 2023-24.

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.

Note: IACCA (or Internally Assessed Component of Course Assessment) is a component of a National Qualifications course, which is conducted and marked by centre staff.

  Verification windows Assessments covered

Round 1

Events: February 2024 (material uplift for events 17 January 2024)

Visiting: February 2024

Units: National 1-2, National 3-4

Round 2

Events: May 2024 (material uplift 23 April 2024)

Visiting: March to May 2024 (Verification visits must take place by 24 May 2024)

IACCAs: National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

Units:National 4 Added Value Unit, SCQF levels 5, 6 and 7

NQ Physical Education course assessment

Visiting: September 2023 to May 2024 (Verification visits must take place by 24 May 2024)

IACCAs: National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

For the purposes of verification, courses and units are grouped into subject verification groups (eg French, Spanish, German or Italian).

There are a number of reasons why we select centres for verification in each of the groups. This might include their past verification history and the length of time since their last verification activity. In addition we also carry out 'random' selections in all verification groups.

The volume of selections in each verification group is considered carefully. Centres should be aware that where courses include an internally assessed component (IACCA), verification will usually be more frequent.

When centres are selected in a verification group, this can be for any courses or units specified by SQA

You may request external verification of any unit(s) or IACCA(s) during rounds 1 and 2. If you would like to request verification, please complete our contact form with details of the qualification, level(s) and unit(s) and/or IACCA(s) you would like verified.

Requests for round 1 must be submitted by Tuesday 07 November 2023. Requests for round 2 must be submitted by Tuesday 09 January 2024.

Your SQA Co-ordinator will be informed of planned verification activity through SQA Connect or by email.

You can find guidance on the evidence you are required to provide for external verification in the Verification submission guidance documents below:

These guidance documents cover:

  • Evidence requirements including sample sizes
  • Documentation that should be provided
  • Interim evidence guidance (unit only)
  • Guidance on provided evidence in electronic formats
  • Subject-specific information

Centres must retain all candidate assessment evidence for National Qualifications, including evidence for any of the freestanding units at SCQF levels 5, 6 and 7, until 31 December.

There are three possible outcomes of verification:

  • Accepted - the centre's assessment approach and judgements are fully in line with national standards.
  • Accepted* - the centre's assessment approach and judgements are in line with national standards, but there are suggested recommendations to improve assessment.
  • Not Accepted - there are significant issues with the internal assessment approach and/or judgements. Required Actions are specified which must be completed. Certification can only take place once these are resolved.

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 us.