Making good assessment decisions

The broad general education and the senior phase

As learners progress from their broad general education to the senior phase, it is important to ensure coherence and consistency in curriculum planning. Coherence across the areas listed below is key to successful progression within schools:

To ensure learning in the senior phase, the National Qualifications build on the fourth curriculum level and the hierarchy of qualifications has been designed to ensure progression across SCQF levels.

Building the Curriculum 3 framework explains:

‘This should ensure a smooth progression through the learning experience from curriculum areas into qualifications.’


‘Qualifications should both reflect the learning that has taken place and develop pathways to the next stage of learning and life.’

The CfE Management Board Reflections Group recognises the importance of coherence and consistency and has asked SQA and Education Scotland to:

Further information can be found in the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board Report of the Working Group on the First Year of the new National Qualifications

In support of this, SQA and Education Scotland have produced resources for education professionals. These resources may also be of interest to parents and carers who wish to understand more about why and how we ensure good assessment decisions are made across all schools and colleges throughout Scotland.

Understanding Standards

We have produced annotated exemplification of curriculum levels, from early years to the fourth level, in partnership with Education Scotland. Each exemplar contains a mixture of annotated exemplification, pupil voice and practitioner notes/reflection. The exemplars show work that is deemed to typify the achievement of a specific level or, in the case of fourth level exemplars, work that is typical of a learner who is currently working at fourth level.

We have also published a range of Understanding Standards materials to assist with developing understanding of the national standards that should be applied when assessing candidates’ work. Candidate evidence and commentary packs for Unit assessment in the new National Qualifications are also available. You will find this material under each subject on our secure website. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.

Comparison of achievement at the fourth curriculum level and assessment evidence at National 4/SCQF level 4 may help practitioners to make decisions about learner progression and assist with acknowledging prior attainment in the Broad General Education in the Senior Phase.

Quality assuring National Qualifications videos

The quality assurance videos show how assessment decisions are quality assured, from broad general education through to senior phase, to maintain the same standard across Scotland.

Visit our quality assurance web pages for further information.