FOI21/22 029 NQ Quality Assurance

Date published: 28/06/2021

FOI reference: 21/22 029

Date received: 09/06/2021

Date responded: 28/06/2021

Information requested

As part of the ACM 2021 the SQA has been carrying out a process of quality assuring centres by reviewing a sample of assessment material and judgements. I understand that feedback has now been provided to centres.

I would therefore like to request the following under FOISA:

Please release all feedback provided to centres as part of the above-described quality assurance process for the 2021 ACM. This should be provided on a centre-by-centre basis and make clear which subject/level it relates to. I would expect that the name of the centre in each case would be redacted but would ask that you do specify whether each centre is a state school, private school or FE college.


The Quality Assurance process is an integral part of how SQA works with and supports centres individually and as a whole to understand standards.

As part of the ACM 2021 Awarding process to ensure centres understand standards and apply them appropriately per subject SQA carried out the ACM national quality assurance exercise. All centres delivering national qualifications at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher were included in the quality assurance exercise. The purpose of the exercise was to determine whether marking was to the national standard, not to consider the full evidence being used to determine provisional results as partial or incomplete candidate evidence could be used.  And crucially it was also not necessary for the submitted material to be part of the final evidence base to be used for determining provisional results, if this was not yet available. 

As part of the support to individual centres feedback reports were produced to provide specific feedback to them on the subjects and levels for which they were selected.  However the main intention of the exercise was to communicate with all centres and provide guidance in understanding standards for all subjects. 109 Key Message reports are published on the SQA website on the qualification-specific pages. These give a good overview of the collated feedback from all the centre feedback reports, including the assessments used, to what extent assessment approaches and judgements were in line with national standards and the common areas of advice provided to centres where they were not fully meeting national standards. These reports were published in June 2021 and can be accessed here National Qualifications Subjects.  Select the subject, then the level of qualification required, then select 2021 Key Messages. These key message reports provide information on any common themes and key points from the evidence submitted and reviewed across all the selections. The report is provided for all delivering centres to reflect upon and make any appropriate adjustments.  

Due to the volume of reports generated as part of this exercise to provide you with a copy of each feedback report as requested by you would cost SQA well in excess of £600 to produce. Under section 12 of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002, where an authority estimates that the cost of complying with the request would result in costs in excess of £600, they are not required to comply.

We also consider that it is not in the public interest to put these individual centre reports into the public domain since the stated objective of the exercise is to provide written guidance on understanding standards at a subject level to all delivering centres.

Please note the centre type (state school, independent school, college, training provider) was not recorded in the feedback reports.