NQ internal verification toolkit

Internal verification is an approach to quality assurance based on peer support and review, which enables you to integrate quality into internal assessment from start to finish.

Internal verification:

  • helps to ensure that all staff understand national standards and can apply them
  • facilitates collaboration between staff and with external colleagues
  • enables and ensures fair, accurate and consistent assessment judgements
  • supports the credibility of internally-assessed qualifications with parents, employers, higher education institutions etc.
  • allows quality concerns to be captured and addressed
  • helps to protect assessors against challenges to professional assessment judgements
  • supports preparation for successful external verification

While most internal verification activity will be integrated within existing processes, it is important that key activities are documented. This will support you in managing internal assessment and verification and planning for improvement, and will also allow you to demonstrate to SQA that an effective internal verification system is in place.

This toolkit provides templates that you can use to support an effective internal verification process.


Internal verification can be divided into three separate stages. The toolkit allows you to think about the activities you undertake at each stage.

The first stage of internal verification is the pre-delivery stage. This includes:

  • planning the management and coordination of internal assessment activities
  • planning the management and coordination of internal verification activities
  • ensuring a shared understanding of standards
  • agreeing on assessment approaches
  • preparing candidates


Role of assessor Role of internal verifier
Understand roles and responsibilities Ensure assessor(s) and internal verifier roles and responsibilities are clear

Define approach to internal verification, including sampling
Get familiar with standards and conditions Collaborate with assessor(s) to ensure shared understanding of standards and conditions
Propose assessment approach

Assessors can use SQA provided assessment (UASPs or SQA prior verified assessment from the secure site) or devise their own assessments
Collaborate to ensure that assessment approach is valid, reliable, practicable, equitable and fair

Where appropriate SQA's free Prior Verification service should be used
Prepare candidates Confirm guidance to candidates

Ensure that process is in place for candidates who require assessment arrangements


The assessor(s) and internal verifier(s) for every Unit should be identified and recorded. A pro forma is provided for this.

You may wish to refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for guidance on the qualifications and experience required to be an assessor or internal verifier.

A pro forma is provided for recording discussions and actions from meetings. These could be full staff team meetings, or smaller, informal meetings. The pro forma has a checklist of issues to be discussed and allows you to record comments and actions succinctly. There is also a completed example, for guidance.

If you decide to write your own assessments, rather than using the SQA Unit assessment support packs (UASPs), you should internally verify them before use. It is also strongly recommended that you send them to SQA for prior verification, once you have internally verified them. A pro forma is provided for recording the outcome of internal verification of a centre-devised assessment, feedback to the teacher/lecturer who wrote it and any action points. There are two completed examples, for guidance.

Internal Assessment arrangements

Candidates are individuals with a diverse range of needs and it is important that, as part of your internal verification process, you consider the individual assessment needs of your candidates when considering the most appropriate assessment arrangements.

The second stage of internal verification is the during delivery stage. This includes:

  • standardisation activities
  • sampling of candidates' assessed work
  • feedback by internal verifiers to assessors who marked assessments
  • consideration of feedback from SQA external verification
  • confirmation of results
  • supporting assessors, responding to queries
  • internal verifiers providing a second opinion in internal assessment appeals, cases of suspected malpractice in internal assessments, and on assessment arrangements


Role of assessor Role of internal verifier
Standardise assessment of candidates with colleagues Participate in or lead standardisation activities

Ensure standardisation activities have taken place
Raise any concerns or queries Respond to queries, provide support and guidance to assessors
Make assessment judgements/respond to feedback from the internal verifier where required Review assessment judgements and complete sampling of assessor(s). Provide feedback to assessor(s)

Internal assessment appeals process

Internal malpractice process
Feedback to candidates Agree final results


A pro forma is provided for recording discussions and actions from meetings during the session. These may be staff team meetings, formal standardisation meetings, or smaller, informal meetings. This has a checklist of issues to be discussed during the year and allows you to record actions and decisions succinctly. There is also a completed example, for guidance.

A pro forma is provided for recording the sampling of candidates' assessed work by the internal verifier, feedback to the assessor and action points. This would be used in conjunction with the Candidate Achievement Record (CAR) to record which candidates' work has been sampled. A completed example is provided, for guidance.

Internal assessment appeals

Centres delivering SQA qualifications must have a documented procedure for dealing with appeals from candidates about their internal assessment results. Internal verifiers have a role in this, providing a second opinion on assessment judgements when an appeal is raised.  An example internal assessment appeals policy is provided along with guidance on internal assessment appeals


SQA centres should have procedures for dealing with instances of suspected malpractice in internal assessments, as well as in externally-assessed examinations or coursework. Internal verifiers may be asked to provide a second opinion during investigations of suspected malpractice.

The third and last stage of internal verification is the post-delivery review stage. This includes:

  • reflecting how things have gone and how to improve delivery of the Course
  • agreeing and planning any necessary changes in assessment approach for the following session
  • agreeing and planning any further understanding standards activities required
  • agreeing and planning any changes to internal verification processes for the following session


Role of assessor Role of internal verifier
Reflect on assessment approach and judgements in relation to: validity, reliability, practicability and accessibility

Reflect on assessment process

Reflect on support for candidates

Agree action plan
Collaborate with assessor(s) in review of assessment approach, judgements and process

Reflect of effectiveness of internal verification process, including sampling

Agree action plan


The pro forma used for meetings during delivery can also be used for recording discussions and actions from meetings at the end of the session. This has a checklist of issues to be discussed and allows you to record comments, actions and decisions succinctly.

You might also wish to re-visit your Internal Verification self-assessment to decide whether your approach to internal verification needs any changes made to it.

Supporting resources

In this toolkit, the terms 'assessor' and 'internal verifier' are used for ease of reference.

'Assessor' refers to a teacher/lecturer who marks internal assessments for Units or Course components. They may be using SQA Unit assessment support packs (UASPs) or may devise their own assessment approaches.

'Internal verifier' refers to a teacher/lecturer who:

  • supports assessors in understanding and applying national standards
  • checks assessment approaches which assessors have devised to ensure that they are fit-for-purpose (before prior verification by SQA)
  • samples assessment judgements to ensure that they are valid and reliable.

Internal verification in the senior phase builds on your experience of 3-15 moderation in the broad general education, with many similar elements. The Sharing Standards and Expectations pages on the Education Scotland website provide more information on this.

The model of internal verification used is at the discretion of the centre. The approach to internal verification that you choose needs to work within the context of your own centre.

There are three broad approaches:

  1. Lead Internal Verifier: responsibility is allocated to named members of teaching staff for carrying out internal verification of particular Units, as part of a peer-review process. The internal verifier will sample assessments marked by other assessors.
  2. Peer review: All members of teaching staff in a department taking responsibility for both assessing and internally verifying Units, as a peer-review process. All staff take part in understanding standards activities and carry out cross-marking of each other's assessments.
  3. Single Assessor departments: A networking approach to internal verification, allowing professional dialogue and cross-marking between assessors in different centres. This would be most likely to apply in single-teacher or small departments.

If you need guidance on choosing an approach to verification, check our Frequently Asked Questions and use our Internal Verification Self-Assessment Form.

You might find it helpful to carry out a self-assessment to establish to what extent your existing processes and documentation meet the requirements of the different stages of internal verification, as defined in the preceding sections of the toolkit. A pro forma is provided to facilitate this, listing the required elements of internal verification and allowing you to add your existing processes and records and actions to address any gaps.

There are also three examples of completed IV Self-Assessment and Evidence Log Forms provided:

Example 1: Lead verifier model

This example is based on a model where members of staff are given responsibility for leading on internal verification of particular Units. It shows you how you could use the recording forms provided in the previous sections of the toolkit as part of internal verification processes.

Example 2: Team peer review model - through existing processes

This example is based on a peer review model, where all members of teaching staff have responsibility for both assessing and internally verifying Units. In this example, internal verification is integrated into existing processes for managing internal assessment. Some of the existing documentation can be used to evidence the internal verification process, but exemplars from the toolkit are used to address gaps.

Example 3: Single assessor departments

If you are the only teacher/lecturer in your centre delivering a subject, the standard models of internal verification will not be appropriate. Arrangements can be made with other centres, through clusters or networks, to collaborate on internal verification. This example gives you some guidance on how this could be approached.

How can my assessments be internally verified if I am the only teacher of that subject in the school?

You could use a colleague from another centre e.g. through a network of schools or a partnership arrangement with another school or college.

We are a large teaching department – can we have more than one internal verifier?

Yes – you can share out responsibility for internal verification amongst the teaching staff.

You might want to allocate specific units to different members of staff to lead on internal verification.

Alternatively, you could have a team approach – with all staff working together on understanding standards, providing mutual support in the internal assessment process and cross-marking each other’s assessments.

Do I need to have specific qualifications or experience to be an internal verifier?

For new National Qualifications, you don’t need specific qualifications to internally assess or to internally verify.

There are SQA Learning and Development Units for assessors and internal verifiers which could be helpful to you, but they are not mandatory.

The internal verifier needs to have sufficient subject knowledge to understand the content of assessments and national standards for the award, and be able to confirm that reliable assessment judgements have been made.

We are asked to send evidence of internal verification to SQA with assessments for prior verification. What kind of evidence is expected?

A named internal verifier needs to confirm that they have approved the version of the assessment sent to SQA as a valid assessment. This could be in the form of a signed front page for the assessment, or a footer on each page of the assessment.

The SQA verifier will be able to give you better feedback if they can see records of internal verification of the assessments – an exemplar pro forma has been provided for this, if you want to use it (see the section of the IV toolkit on pre-delivery and understanding standards).

We are asked to send evidence of internal verification to SQA with candidate assessments for verification events and prepare evidence of IV for visiting verification. What kind of evidence is expected?

You should provide evidence of sampling and confirmation of results by the internal verifier. This could be included on the Candidate Assessment Record (CAR).

An exemplar pro forma is provided in the toolkit for recording sampling candidates’ assessments, feedback to the assessor and any actions taken – if you want to use it (see the section of the IV toolkit on support and sampling during delivery).

The candidates’ assessments which you select for verification by SQA should have been part of your sample for internal verification, and have been through the internal verification process before you submit them for external verification.

You should provide information when submitting assessments to SQA for verification about how your process of internal verification works, and particularly how you ensure that all staff involved in assessment understand the standards. The self-assessment pro forma provided could be helpful in explaining this (see the section of the IV toolkit on self-assessment).

How do we decide what model of verification we should use?

It is entirely at the discretion of your school, or local authority, what model of internal verification they implement, but it should meet the requirements of SQA in terms of the three stages of pre-delivery/understanding standards, on-going support for assessors and sampling of pupils’ assessments, and post-delivery review.

It is at the discretion of the school whether or not it allows different approaches to internal verification to operate in different departments. Appropriate records should be retained, whatever approach is used.

A peer verification approach is entirely acceptable to SQA, but your school, or local authority, may adopt an approach of allocating internal verification responsibilities for a number of Units or Courses to members of staff.

In single-teacher or small departments, you could use a networking approach with peer discussion and cross-marking with staff from other schools.

Do we need to use standard recording documentation for internal verification?

No, there is no requirement to use standard recording documentation. The pro formas provided in this toolkit are just exemplars which you can choose to use or adapt if you wish.

You may wish to use other types of paper forms, or other electronic records.

You can use existing records as evidence of internal verification, if they cover the relevant issues - e.g. minutes of staff meetings where standards were discussed.

What happens if the internal verifier disagrees with the assessment judgements of the teacher who marked the assessments?

Firstly, don’t leave verification to sampling at the end of delivery – focus on understanding standards before carrying out assessment, and sample assessments during delivery, so that any issues can be addressed.

You should not submit any Unit results for candidates until the issues identified through internal verification are resolved and the internal verifier has signed off the results.

If there is a difference of opinion, there should be a professional dialogue to reach consensus.

If necessary, involve a third party to provide another opinion, or as a sounding-board – this could be e.g. another colleague, another member of a subject network in a different centre, or your Principal Teacher.

Is sampling the same as cross-marking? Is cross-marking internal verification?

The SQA document Internal Verification: A Guide for Centres offering SQA Qualifications defines a range of standardisation activities which can be carried out to help teaching staff who are assessing candidates to develop their shared understanding of the standards, and to support staff who are new to assessing the qualification – this includes cross-marking/cross-assessment, agreement trials, dual assessment, evidence review, double-marking and blind marking.

Sampling is undertaken by the internal verifier to ensure that national standards are being applied consistently by all assessors.

The guidance on sampling strategies in the toolkit explains the criteria which should be taken into account when constructing the sample to be verified - e.g. first delivery of a qualification or level, a new or inexperienced assessor, different candidate groups/locations/methods of assessment, issues identified at previous internal or external verification (see the section of the IV toolkit on support and sampling during delivery).

Do we need to internally verify re-assessments?

If a different assessment is required for re-assessment attempts to maintain the integrity of the assessment, and you are devising this yourself, then it should be internally verified before being used. We would also strongly recommend that it is sent for prior verification by SQA.

Candidate evidence produced for re-assessment attempts should be included within your internal verification sample, to ensure that national standards are being maintained.

Download all the toolkit pro formas

This includes a single log form, which incorporates all the IV toolkit pro forma into one document which you may use to support your centre's internal verification procedures. We recommended you refer to all pro forma in the IV toolkit.when developing and reviewing your approach to internal verification.

Download the NQ Internal Verification Tookit proformas (1.11 MB)