Alternative Certification Model: 2021 - centres

National quality assurance - When will schools, colleges and training providers find out which National Courses they have been selected to provide assessment evidence for?

SQA will inform schools, colleges and training providers what subjects and levels they have been selected for during May.

For how many National Courses will each school, college and training provider be asked to provide assessment evidence?

The number of National Courses for which each school, college and training provider is asked to provide assessment evidence will be proportional depending on the number of National Courses they deliver. SQA will provide guidance on gathering and submitting assessment evidence.

Do schools, colleges and training providers need to use summative assessment evidence for SQA quality assurance?

Yes. The assessment evidence needed for SQA quality assurance needs to have good predictive value, as described in the subject-specific guidance.

SQA has published 116 subject-specific guidance documents across National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher to support teachers and lecturers in collecting a small amount of key evidence with high predictive value. Unlike the evidence base that needs to be in place for provisional results, for quality assurance purposes, due to the timing of the exercise, it is accepted that the evidence may be partial or incomplete.

How many schools, colleges and training providers will be selected for quality assurance?

All schools, colleges and training providers who deliver National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will be selected for quality assurance.

Should schools and colleges share provisional results with candidates?

Yes. Schools, colleges and training providers should ensure their learners are kept up to date on their progress, including their provisional result.

When will information on the QA approach for the alternative certification model (ACM) be released and when will national quality assurance occur?

The NQ21 Group shared information about the alternative certification model on Tuesday 16 February 2021.

Guidance on the national quality assurance exercise will follow as soon as possible.

What is the minimum requirement for the national quality assurance exercise for each subject?

The number of selections that each school, college and training provider is asked to provide will depend on the number of subjects they deliver. SQA will provide guidance on gathering and submitting assessment evidence for each selection.

For practical subjects, what if we have no evidence that we can provide for quality assurance?

For some practical subjects, where capturing and submitting assessment evidence is not possible, an alternative approach to quality assurance will be put in place.

Can SQA consider the removal of the requirement to complete all National 4 added value units for this year?

SQA has reviewed the approach to assessment of National 4 courses. Learners will therefore not be required to complete the National 4 added value units in session 2020-21.

What will appeals look like?

During March, SQA is asking a range of individuals and groups including learners, teachers, lecturers and national organisations to share their views on appeals. This will help to develop the appeals process for 2021.

Further information on the appeals service for 2021 will be available at www.sqa.org.uk/NQ2021.

Do key dates still stand?

Key dates have been uploaded to SQA Connect and communicated directly with schools, colleges and training providers. This information will be updated as more dates become available.

What if schools/colleges do not return in March?

The National Qualifications Group continues to follow the advice from Scottish Government with regards to the public health situation. Any required changes to the alternative certification model will be communicated with schools, colleges and training providers.

Can teachers use inferred judgement if no evidence is available?

No, inferred attainment cannot be used. Provisional results must be based on evidence that demonstrates candidates’ knowledge, skills and understanding. Teachers and lecturers should gather evidence later in the course, as a realistic reflection of a candidate’s attainment. It is important to note that it is not the quantity of evidence but the quality of evidence, in relation to its predictive value, that will enable teachers and lecturers to determine a provisional grade for each candidate.

Subject-specific guidance documents are available for all National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses. These documents summarise the key pieces of evidence required as the basis for provisional results. They also highlight the option of separating and adapting assessments so that teachers and lecturers have the flexibility to assess learners at times and in ways that are appropriate to their needs.

Is Round 2 verification going ahead?

No, verification activities have been cancelled this year. Schools, colleges and training providers should retain evidence of attainment for any post-certification verification SQA decides is necessary.

What is the date for Unit entries for SCQF levels 5, 6 and 7 making changes/withdrawals for courses?

The closing date for changes of level or withdrawal of existing entries has been extended to 30 April 2021.

Will SQA charge for late entries this session?

No. For session 2020-21 we will not charge late fees for any changes to entries or withdrawal of entries made after 30 April 2021.