Changes to assessment of National Courses

In September 2016 the Deputy First Minister announced that units and unit assessments would be removed from National 5 to Advanced Higher courses.

We are removing units from these courses on a phased basis over three years:

What this means for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher

In National 5 and Higher courses, we strengthened the course assessments to ensure that candidates continue to be assessed on the full content of the course and to maintain the SCQF value of each course. We did this by making one or more of the following changes to each subject:

For Advanced Higher courses, there is less of a requirement to extend the course assessments following the removal of units, so the changes vary across subjects.

Changes to assessment (by subject)

Advanced Higher courses from session 2019-20:

We have published details of the changes to each Advanced Higher course on our NQ subject pagesThe following tables give a high-level overview of these changes across all subjects:

National 5 and Higher:

The following tables give a high-level overview of the changes we made to the National 5 and Higher course assessments:

Documents and assessment support materials

Advanced Higher

Revised course specifications are available from each of the Advanced Higher subject pages of our website. We will publish all Advanced Higher assessment support materials by the end of Septembe 2019.

Support for teachers and lecturers

We are committed to addressing workload concerns for teachers, lecturers and candidates. As part of our Understanding Standards programme, we are providing CPD webinars, face-to-face events and published materials to help teachers and lecturers prepare for the changes to assessment. 

If you need any further advice about the changes to National Courses, please contact your local Liaison Manager.

Engaging with teachers on the changes to assessment

We work closely with our National Qualifications Support Teams (NQSTs) to review the course assessments for each subject and carefully consider how the assessments should be strengthened. NQST members include teachers, lecturers, union representatives, professional associations and representatives from higher education. Through our NQ research, we also met with a sample of teachers to gauge their views on the proposed changes to Higher assessments and the implications of these.