Item writer/expert reviewer - Key Stage 1 & 2 National Curriculum

We are looking for individuals with experience of writing and reviewing items for the National Curriculum. The role involves working with an education consultant, other item writer/expert reviewer and SQA teams to ensure consistent application of standards.

An item writer/expert reviewer is responsible for creating/reviewing:

  •  questions, items or tasks;
  •  marking instructions;
  • commentaries, texts and rationales, where appropriate;

which conforms to the Standards & Testing Agency’s (STA) requirements.

These activities will be co-ordinated by an education consultant and staff from SQA’s Item Development Team (IDT). Work packages allocated to each item writer/expert reviewer will allow them to produce the required output in their own time, whilst meeting SQA requirements for submission to STA.

Outline of duties

  • Produce and review new question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions in accordance with the item specification and guidance from the Education Consultant.
  • Ensure question(s)/item(s)/tasks(s) and marking instructions are of a suitable standard in terms of validity, reliability, accuracy, content, degree of difficulty, spelling and grammar.
  • Review, refine and amend the items as a result of informal trialling, expert review, or any other feedback provided.
  • Identify sources and copyright requirements for submission along with question(s)/item(s)/task(s) and marking instructions by specified dates.
  • Classify items according to the item type, content and cognitive domains from the test framework and where appropriate, provide evidence for its classification.
  • Ensure activities are concluded by specified dates and assist in ensuring resources are used effectively and efficiently.
  • Make recommendations where appropriate to SQA for improvements to systems, processes and procedures etc.

There may be a requirement to undertake duties during weekends and holiday periods

Item writers may be asked to undertake additional activities. These activities will attract additional payment and could include the following:

  • Informally trialling items with appropriate age range / ability groups to derive qualitative data on item performance.

Selection criteria

Successful candidates must:

  • have expertise in one or more of the following areas:
    • Key Stage 1 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS); and Mathematics).
    • Key Stage 2 National Curriculum (English reading; English grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS); Mathematics and Science).
    • Professional Skills Tests for Prospective Teachers (Literacy and Numeracy).
  • be able to demonstrate creative ability to generate assessment items.
  • be able to communicate and engage professionally, confidently and effectively with other appointees and SQA staff.
  • be able to work professionally and co-operatively with other appointees and SQA staff.
  • be able to demonstrate good forward planning and time management skills and adhere to deadlines.
  • have a home computer or laptop with broadband internet connection and a private e- mail address.  Please note that we use a software package for the secure exchange of items and supporting documentation which requires Microsoft Windows to operate.

It would be advantageous if they are working in, or have access to, a school for informal trialling of the materials produced.

If you wish to discuss this opportunity, or require further information, please email us at