Gathering evidence: 2021 - centres

How much assessment evidence do I need to gather to determine a provisional result?

The amount of key evidence required for each course relates to the number of assessment components (question papers and items of coursework) that make up the course assessment. However, 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 support you in determining provisional results this session.

Please refer to our subject-specific guidance on gathering evidence for details of the evidence requirements for each course. Guidance for each subject is available from www.sqa.org.uk/nqsubjects.

What is a piece of evidence?

A piece of evidence is an assessment that covers the breadth, depth, and challenge of a course assessment component, such as a question paper or an item of coursework. For example, a course that has two assessment components would require at least two pieces of evidence – one for each component.

Please refer to our subject-specific guidance on gathering evidence for details of the evidence requirements for each course. Guidance for each subject is available from www.sqa.org.uk/nqsubjects.

If I split an assessment, will this count as more than one piece of evidence?

Please refer to our subject-specific guidance on gathering evidence for details of the evidence requirements for your course. Guidance for each subject is available from www.sqa.org.uk/nqsubjects.

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 support you in determining provisional results this session.

SQA previously advised that centres should be gathering between two to four pieces of evidence. How does this apply to courses that have one course assessment component?

In October 2020, as part of a message about subject-specific guidance on gathering evidence, we indicated that around two to four pieces of evidence would be sufficient for each course. This was a general statement that reflected the number of course assessment components that most courses have. It was intended as a guide to the overall volume of assessment evidence required, to prevent continuous and excessive assessment during the session.

The amount of key evidence required for each course relates to the number of assessment components (question papers and items of coursework) that make up the course assessment. Some subjects may only require one piece of evidence while others require two. There are a small number of subjects that require three or four smaller pieces of evidence.

While some subjects require more pieces of evidence than others, the overall volume of evidence will be broadly similar across all subjects as the evidence gathered will reflect the breadth, depth and challenge of the course. Centres need to ensure they have a robust evidence base for each provisional result whilst not over assessing learners.

Please refer to our subject-specific guidance on gathering evidence for details of the evidence requirements for each course. Guidance for each subject is available from www.sqa.org.uk/nqsubjects.

Is it true that I only need to gather evidence for 70% of the course?

SQA has not advised that centres should gather evidence for 70% of the course this session.

There is some information in SQA’s general guidance on gathering evidence and producing estimates document (320 KB) which advises that a piece of evidence worth 70% of the course award may be a better predictor of a candidate’s achievement than a piece with a smaller weighting. However, this is general guidance on producing estimates as part of normal SQA awarding procedures – it does not apply to determining provisional results as part of the alternative certification model in session 2020-21.

For provisional results, quality of evidence is a more important factor than the quantity of evidence. The evidence you gather for each candidate should reflect the full range of course content, in line with the subject-specific guidance for the course. The subject-specific guidance reflects any modifications SQA has made to the course to reduce the volume of assessment this year, such as removing course assessment components, or reducing course content or contexts to give a narrower focus for this session.

Please refer to the subject-specific guidance for your course, which details the key pieces of evidence you should be gathering to support you in your decision making.