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.

Units will be removed on a phased basis over three years:

Revisions to course assessment

Following the removal of units and unit assessments, we are strengthening the course assessments to ensure they assess the full content of the course and to maintain the current course value of 24 SCQF credit points. For each course, we will make one or more of the following changes:

The following table gives a high-level overview of the planned changes to assessment in Higher courses from session 2018-19 onwards.

Summary of changes to National 5 courses, implemented in session 2017-18:

Your questions answered

If you have any questions about these changes, you might find the answers in our Q&A document.

We are continuing to update this document based on the enquiries we receive.

Documents and assessment support materials

We have published revised National 5 course specifications, which provide detailed information on the structure of the course and course assessment for every subject. We are also publishing assessment support materials for courses with new or revised exams / coursework and these are being published between the end of May and the end of September 2017.

Support for teachers and lecturers

SQA is committed to addressing workload concerns for teachers, lecturers and candidates and is assessing how the design, operational, and systems requirements will be delivered.

As part of our Understanding Standards programme, we are providing CPD webinars, audio presentations and face-to-face events to help prepare teachers 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. We also meet with a sample of teachers to gauge their views on the proposed changes to Higher assessments and the implications of these.