Quality assurance documents and videos

Key documents

Essential forms and guidance on quality assurance processes and requirements for SQA Advanced, HN and vocational qualifications.

How to become an SQA centre and how to obtain approval to offer SQA qualifications. These documents should help potential new centres as well as existing centres.

Webinar recordings

Systems Quality Assurance Solutions webinar series

Throughout January 2021 we ran a programme of Systems Quality Assurance Solutions webinars to support employers and training providers. Based on trends in systems verification outcomes and the experience of Quality Enhancement Managers, our webinar recordings will help you to achieve better verification outcomes and enhance the quality of your systems policies and procedures.

Use the playlist button at top right to scroll through the six webinars.

These frequently asked questions from delegates who attended the 'Systems Quality Assurance Solutions' webinars provide useful additional information for centres.

Is a decision log the same as a standardisation log?

Decision logs are often used for standardisation purposes and therefore can sometimes be referred to as 'standardisation logs'. When used for this purpose, they help capture the agreements made by the assessment/ internal verification (IV) team.

As a new centre co-ordinator, do we require access to SQA's Secure website?

Not necessarily - everything required to operate as centre co-ordinator is on our website and, in particular, the systems verification webpage. Some centres may need to access the secure site depending on the qualifications they offer. For more information, contact the MyCentre team.

How can a centre stay on top of communications from SQA?

It's helpful to create a separate email folder for all SQA communications so you can quickly and easily find correspondence. You can also flag any emails that require action.

Do I need to consider GDPR when communicating with candidates at home?

The issue of GDPR rests with the centre's own operating practices and isn't covered by the systems quality assurance criteria. While SQA may require certain information to be communicated to candidates, we are not in a position to provide any guidance on GDPR compliance to centres.If the centre is a college, they will have access to a data protection officer as part of the shared services model - Higher Education/Further Education Shared Technology and Information Services, and if not they may want to seek specialist legal advice. It is also worth having a look at the Information Commissioner's website which has a wealth of information and guidance on data protection. There is a specific section dedicated to data protection and COVID-19 which may help answer this query.

Where is the best place to find up to date SQA guidance documents?

Within the main SQA website, you can find guidance on this page, or on the Systems Verification and Qualification Verification pages. Alternatively, there are links to the most up to date guidance on the new Centre Hub.

Must centres review all policies and procedures annually and present evidence of the changes made to each document to the systems verifier?

Centres must employ an appropriate system of version control and review for all policies and procedures relating to SQA qualifications, but the timescales for review can differ depending on the nature of the policy and/or size of the organisation. For example, equal opportunities and data protection usually only change with legislation updates.

Should all candidate evidence be retained for one calendar year?

For criterion 4.7, we mean the product produced by the candidate in the course of an assessment. If there are no exceptional circumstances (appeal/malpractice) and you have not been notified of an external verification visit, this evidence should be retained for three weeks after the completion date entered on SQA Connect. (An extension to this was introduced due to COVID-19.)

If the candidate raises an appeal against the assessment decision, or is involved in a malpractice investigation, the evidence needs to be retained for longer.

Details of current retention timescales for all candidate evidence can be found on our website.

I have created a separate COVID-19 guidance document, but I haven't included it in our centre handbook as I didn't think the pandemic would have gone on for so long. Would you recommend adding it in to our handbook?

As long as you can clearly show that staff and candidates have access to this information, this would suffice. Another option might be to include this guidance as a temporary annex in your handbook.

How can I stay on top of version control/history of changes in my centre's SQA documentation?

A 'change log' is a great tool for staying on top of changes. In a table or spreadsheet, you can quickly capture the date of changes, new version numbers (when applicable), a summary of the changes, the reason for the changes, and the impact of the changes.

Is there a limit to the number of times we can extend a candidate's completion date on SQA Connect?

No. If you have negotiated an extension with a candidate, you can update their completion date as many times as you need to. The entry should always reflect the current status of the candidate and the qualification. Data cleansing is very important, and we ask centres to be proactive in checking their open entries so that, when a completion date is approaching, the entry is resulted, withdrawn or extended before it becomes out of date.

Can only the SQA Administrator have access to SQA Connect?

No, it is possible for the SQA Administrator to create more users for your centre. It is always important to have very clearly defined roles, responsibilities and procedures for data management and, if you do have a number of people entering and resulting candidates, please ensure everyone involved is aware of these.

When registering candidates for qualifications which have optional units, can we register them for all units and then remove the ones that are not completed later?

Yes.

Is there a way to enter many candidates for the same award at the same time?

Yes, you can do a bulk upload.

Is it possible to use the bulk upload spreadsheet to do multiple tasks at the same time, eg to create SCNs for some candidates; enter other candidates who have SCSs; result some candidates; withdraw some candidates?

Yes. Just fill out the details on the different tabs before submitting it.

Where do I find the template for bulk uploads?

It's in the SQA Connect 'User Guides' section.

How do I update centre co-ordinator details?

Email mycentre@sqa.org.uk - you can also do this yourself on SQA Connect.

What does HNVQ mean?

HNVQ refers to Higher National and Vocational Qualifications. We verify these qualifications along with SQA Advanced Certificates/Diplomas, Personal Development Awards and National Progression Awards. The verifier will confirm the qualifications they will be verifying when they make contact with your centre.

Is using the Centre Hub mandatory?

No, it isn't, but it has many advantages for centres. If you have questions about using the Centre Hub, please contact operationshnvq@sqa.org.uk.

Can documents be uploaded to Centre Hub at any time or do we have to wait for an external verifier visit to be arranged?

Once you have signed up and got your log-in details, you can upload policies and procedures to the 'Systems Verification' area or the 'Shared QA Documents' area at any time. When you are notified of a specific qualification verification event, there is a unique event identification number attached to that event, and this must be on all the forms you use to upload evidence as arranged/requested.

If you update a policy, you can upload the new version and we will archive older versions. This will save centres having to send the same document several times to several different external verifiers.

Can a centre have more than one log-in to the Centre Hub?

Yes, just ask us. Do not share log-ins among centre staff; you can have as many as you need, for example, curriculum leaders in colleges.

Alternative Assessment Approaches

Following the publication of the updated guidance on alternative assessment approaches, a webinar took place to ensure the understanding of the roles and responsibilities of IQA panels in helping course teams to make effective use of the decision tree process outlined in the update document.