Assessment arrangements in 2020-21

The Assessment Arrangements Request (AAR) system is closed due to the cancellation of the 2021 National Qualification examinations. Centres do not need to submit assessment arrangement requests to SQA for National Qualifications in 2020-21.

You should continue to use the same assessment arrangements processes already in place in your centre to support candidates requiring an assessment arrangement for an internal assessment.

When considering assessment arrangements:

Guidance on remote assessment.

If any of your candidates are disabled, or have additional support needs, and have been identified as needing assessment arrangements, please ensure that these are in place for each assessment and/or assignment. Where possible, you should follow your normal internal process for requesting assessment arrangements.

You should keep a record of your decisions and any evidence that supports them.

If you have questions about a candidate

If you are in any doubt about whether a candidate is eligible for a particular assessment arrangement, or whether the assessment arrangement compromises the assessment or competence standards, your SQA co-ordinator should contact us as soon as possible. This will allow SQA sufficient time to consider your request before the candidate undertakes the assessment. You should provide full details of the:

Contact: Assessment Arrangements Team.

Answers to frequently asked questions

With regard to assessment arrangements, SQA operates a needs-led model. This ensures that candidates are treated as individuals with specific arrangements to meet their individual assessment needs, which may vary between subjects. Centres should gather evidence of needs on an ongoing basis. The arrangements put in place by the centre should reflect the level and type of support provided to the candidate throughout the course and in the classroom.

Centres should consider what pre-existing evidence they have, including diagnostic information, that could support putting an assessment arrangement in place. A school's decision should be based on evidence of:

  • how the candidate's disability/difficulty impacts on teaching and learning
  • the candidate's normal way of working and accessing assessments (considered on a subject-by-subject basis)
  • the support given during learning and teaching.

In 2021, we understand that centres may face extra difficulty in collecting this evidence in some instances. In such cases, centres should make judgements in a candidate's best interest and make a balanced judgement as to whether there is good evidence of a candidate's need. Where there is insufficient evidence to justify an arrangement and the centre believes an additional test is required to determine this, the centre should make best efforts to undertake that test. In current circumstances, that test might need to take place after candidates return to the centre. The centre can also consider whether it is possible to complete the test remotely.

For internal assessments, responsibility for ensuring that agreed assessment arrangements are in place rests with the centre. For the alternative arrangements in place for 2021, centres are expected to ensure that assessments which are intended to count towards a candidate's estimate are carried out with the agreed assessment arrangement in place - wherever this is appropriate.

This should be avoided. If, in unforeseen circumstances, some evidence is produced this way, the assessor needs to consider whether the evidence should be disregarded altogether, or whether - in the interests of the candidate - it should be considered but with the understanding that it has lower predictive value. When deciding on estimates, assessors should focus on evidence with the best predictive value - this will be evidence produced with the appropriate assessment arrangement in place.

Digital question papers

For session 2020-21, we have published digital question papers for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher on the SQA Secure website (arrange access through your SQA Co-ordinator).

Find out more about digital question papers.