2. Do - support and sampling

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

During delivery tasks

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.

Sample assessment processes, practices and evidence, including assessor judgements.

Provide feedback to assessor(s).

Provide second opinion in appeals, if required.

Provide second opinion in cases of malpractice, if required.

Feedback to candidates. Agree final results.

During delivery records

Form for recording discussions and actions from meetings during delivery of the qualification.


Internal Verification: A Guide for Centres Offering SQA Qualifications gives guidance on a range of standardisation exercises and on sampling of candidate assessment by internal verifiers.

The following examples are standardisation exercises used by centres:

Sampling assessment judgements

Your sampling strategy will depend on the structure of your organisation and the range of qualifications you are delivering. The strategy you are using should be recorded.

Sampling might be as simple as two assessors cross-marking a number of candidate assessments.

If, however, you have a number of different assessors and groups of candidates undertaking the same qualification you will need to have a sampling strategy which will allow the internal verifier(s) to check that each assessor is making consistent assessment judgements in line with national standards, with each group of candidates over time.

The number of candidates included in the sample for internal verification should be proportionate to the total number of candidates you have. You might choose to use a defined percentage, or the square root of the total.

In the first year of delivery of a new qualification, you should verify assessments from every candidate group marked by every assessor. You might only need to sample a few from each group, or expand on the sample to explore further.

After the first year, the following factors should be taken into consideration when prioritising what to sample:

You may not need to look at every Unit every year, if you are confident that national standards are being applied, and if there have been no changes since the previous year. You could apply a rolling programme of verification sampling to ensure that a check on standards is maintained over time. Once you have carried out initial planned sampling, if you have concerns, you may wish to expand the sample or sample again at a later stage in the delivery, before resulting is allowed.

It is important the approach to sampling that you take within your internal verification system is 'fit for purpose'. On a basic level, if the Units/qualifications you are planning to verify contain a good degree of knowledge, then the records of that knowledge evidence and associated assessment judgements should be sampled as part of the verification process.

When presenting the sample of candidate evidence for internal verification, the assessor should make the internal verifier aware of:

Monitoring assessor judgements

If the Units/qualifications you are planning to verify contain a high degree of performance evidence (as do many S/NVQ/RQF Units), then apart from the usual evidence generated (candidate logs, assessors' observation reports etc), it also makes good quality assurance sense to use — at least as part of your internal verification approach — methods that gauge how assessor judgements are made. In this case, methods such as conducting dual/peer observations can prove useful.

Form for internal verifiers in monitoring the assessment practice of assessors.

Form for recording the sampling of candidates' assessed work by the internal verifier, feedback to the assessor and action points. This is for use for groups of candidates and would be used in conjunction with the records of candidate achievement to record which candidates' work has been sampled.

Form for recording the sampling of individual candidates' assessments (most likely for SVQ candidates).

Internal assessment appeals

Internal verification applies to qualifications, or elements of qualifications, that are internally assessed. The fact that they are internally assessed means that the centre delivering them must have a documented procedure for dealing with appeals from candidates about their results in assessments. Internal verifiers have a role in this (see Stage 2 below).

The procedure should have three stages, as follows:

Stage 1 — Informal

The appeals process begins with a preliminary informal stage where the candidate raises their concerns with the assessor.

Stage 2 — Informal

If the matter is not resolved with the assessor, the advice of the internal verifier for the Unit/qualification should be sought on the validity of the result awarded.

Stage 3 — Formal

If the matter is not resolved through the informal stages, a formal appeal should be submitted in writing to a senior member of staff, who will investigate the matter and respond. This could be, for example, a manager or the SQA Co-ordinator. You may want to include in your procedure that an Appeals Panel will be convened at this stage, comprising staff who have not previously been involved in the appeal in question.

The outcome of Stage 3 should be communicated in writing to the candidate and records should be retained.

Each stage should have appropriate timescales set for acknowledging receipt of the appeal and responding. There should also be defined timescales for being able to raise an appeal (eg within a month of the assessment in question).

All candidates must be made aware of the appeals procedure and be offered support in submitting and providing evidence for their appeal.

Centres offering qualifications that are subject to statutory regulation by SQA Accreditation, Ofqual or Qualifications Wales, must also inform candidates that they have additional stages of appeal, once the centre's appeals procedure has been exhausted:

SQA Accreditation, Ofqual or Qualifications Wales (as appropriate) cannot overturn assessment decisions or academic judgements but may investigate the effectiveness of the centre and/or SQA's appeals process and require corrective action.

SQA can also deal with complaints about assessment in the broadest sense; including the conduct of, and environment for, assessment but only if the candidate has already exhausted the centre's complaints procedure.

Candidates on regulated qualifications also have the right to complain to SQA Accreditation, Ofqual or Qualifications Wales (as appropriate) once they have exhausted your centre's complaints procedure and the SQA awarding body's complaints procedure.


SQA centres must have procedures for dealing with instances of suspected malpractice in internal assessments. Internal verifiers may be asked to provide a second opinion during investigations of suspected malpractice.

Candidate malpractice means malpractice by a candidate in the course of completing an assessment and can arise in:


Dealing with suspected cases of candidate malpractice

Candidates must be made aware of what malpractice is and the potential outcomes of committing malpractice.

Where an assessor suspects malpractice in an internal assessment, the internal verifier should be alerted in the first instance and asked for a second opinion. If doubt remains over the authenticity of the candidate's work, then further investigation should be carried out by a relevant manager. This may result in a candidate disciplinary process. Different sanctions may be applied for different categories of malpractice.

It is a requirement for instances of candidate malpractice in regulated qualifications to be reported to SQA, and for records of all investigations of malpractice in all other qualifications to be retained to be provided on request by SQA. This must be written into centre procedures.

Centre malpractice

Malpractice means any act, default or practice (whether deliberate or resulting from neglect or default) which is a breach of SQA assessment requirements including any act, default or practice which:

Malpractice can arise for a variety of reasons:

Malpractice can include both maladministration in the assessment and delivery of SQA qualifications and deliberate non-compliance with SQA requirements.

Examples of centre malpractice include:

Staff must make every effort to avoid centre malpractice and should report any concerns to the head of centre. It is a requirement that centres report all cases of centre malpractice to SQA. Candidates or other members of the public can also report any instances of suspected malpractice to SQA, who will then investigate the matter.

The internal verification process ensures that the required conditions for assessment are in place and that correct assessment and resulting records are completed and retained in line with SQA's requirements.

Stage 3 - post-delivery review