Joint statement from SQA and Colleges Scotland - Update to colleges

Friday 03 April

SQA logo

SQA is continuing to work closely in partnership with Colleges Scotland in these unprecedented times. We advised you in our statement of Thursday 26 March 2020 we have been working together to recognise learner achievement in as fair a way as possible.

We have also worked closely with representatives within colleges, over the last week, to create guidance around the approach for college delivery and quality assurance for Higher National Certificates (HNC), Higher National Diplomas (HND), National Certificates (NCs) and National Progression Awards (NPAs) qualifications, as well as National Qualification (NQ) units, which may be part of college certificated courses.

Approach to assessing HNC, HND, NC, NPA and NQ units

We can confirm that we have aligned the approach for all these courses and units in line with our previous statement on Higher National (HN) qualifications. This means that college colleagues will be able to take a holistic approach, where necessary, in determining grades. This will enable colleges to use their professional judgement to assess other learner evidence, including knowledge of their learners’ progress and achievements to date.

Today, SQA, in collaboration with Colleges Scotland and college colleagues, has provided guidance materials to all colleges in Scotland, which provides them with further information on this change in approach for this session. 

We appreciate that learners may have questions about these arrangements, and their own colleges will have helpful FAQs to answer these.

Resulting and Certification

Once holistic assessment decisions have been finalised, learner results for the planned units contained within a group award will be submitted to SQA through normal resulting channels. Certification will be undertaken by SQA in line with normal arrangements. Any changes to these will be communicated to colleges.

It is essential that accurate and complete data is entered for certification to ensure that learners are awarded the certificates they deserve, enabling them to take their next steps into further or higher education, employment or apprenticeships.

External Verification

Again, in line with our previous statement, given the current situation, we will operate a reduced external verification model for HNs, NCs and NPAs, that will enable a reasonable level of quality assurance to be undertaken remotely, to support the safe and secure delivery of our qualifications, whilst recognising the current challenges we all face.

Next steps

SQA is currently reviewing the subject areas where alternative approaches to assessment may not be suitable and therefore a holistic approach cannot be taken, for example, where there are matters of health and safety to be considered. Further guidance on this will be provided to you in the coming days.

In addition, we are in discussions with regulators and other relevant bodies, reviewing the position for other vocational qualifications, including Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs), Professional Development Awards (PDAs) and licence to practise qualifications. We will provide an update and guidance for these as they become available.

Please be assured, that everyone at SQA and Colleges Scotland is fully committed to working with you to deliver for Scotland’s learners at this exceptionally difficult time.

Thank you for your patience and continued co-operation.

Previous SQA Statements