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.

Round 1 and Round 2 verification events cancelled

Due to ongoing COVID-19 social distancing requirements:

What are the different types of external verification?

National Qualifications verification 2020-21

There will be two rounds of external verification in 2020-21.

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 (cancelled)

Events: February 2021 (material uplift for events 12 January 2021)

Visiting: February 2021


  • National 1-2
  • National 3-4

Round 2 (cancelled)

Events: May 2021 (material uplift 26 April 2021)

Visiting: March to May 2021


  • 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 (cancelled)

Visiting: January to May 2021


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 how we select centres for verification

What evidence do you need to provide for verification?

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:

Guidance on retention of evidence

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.

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