Tag Archives: sqa

Course Rationales and Summaries

The draft Course Rationales are now available to view on the SQA website:

The draft Course Rationales and Summaries outline the proposed content for the new qualifications and their aims and purposes. The Course Rationales identify the skills and knowledge learners will develop. The Course Summaries detail how Courses will be structured. They provide a brief description of each Unit in the Course and what is required to achieve the Course.

The SQA are very keen to hear your feedback on these documents:

You can leave feedback via Have Your Say. At each stage of the qualifications development process we are publishing draft documents in an open and transparent way to show the thinking at each stage and to provide the opportunity to give feedback. We welcome your feedback on the Course Rationales and Summaries by the end of March 2011.

Click here find out more

SQA CfE NQ Development Schedule

If you’re interested in the CfE National Qualifications Development Programme you will have hopefully already seen the document below which sets out the key dates for the current and new NQs.

As a member of the CfE Qualification Design Team for Biology, I was given a different diagram which showed the key stages for the development of the new NQs in more detail. I thought that this was worth sharing here so you can see it by clicking on the image below:

If you’d like more on CfE NQ Development from the SQA, you should sign up for the CPD session on Friday 24th September at 1.30pm at the Pennypit Centre. Find out more on CPDShare or sign up here.

SQA Overview of Qualifications

Deciding which national qualifications to develop

The SQA have published the overviews of qualifications for most of the curricular areas:

The Overview of Qualifications publications outline the list of subjects that fall within each curriculum area. The list includes the names of the subjects and the levels at which qualifications will be developed. The publication also gives details of the scope of the curriculum area, skills, progression, and learning and teaching approaches. Qualifications will be developed in line with the broad vision set out in the Overview publication.

You can use the links below to download the overviews:

Curriculum for Excellence Progress Reports

Progress Reports for seven of the eight Curricular Areas are now available on the SQA website:

Progress Reports summarise the findings and conclusions of SQA’s research and engagement with stakeholders and give recommendations on the scope, skills and issues within each curriculum area.

The first of our Reports are now available for seven of the eight curriculum areas: expressive arts, health and wellbeing, languages, mathematics, sciences, social studies and technologies as well as literacy and numeracy. Work on the report for religious and moral education is continuing and this will be published in July.

Don’t forget that you can keep up to date with developments in your subject at SQA by using their MyAlerts system and you can also nominate yourself for subject working groups.

New National 4 and 5 Qualifications: Design Principles

The SQA have published the design principles for the new National 4 & 5 Qualifications. You can view them on the SQA website, download the PDF or read them below:

The design principles are the blueprint for developing the new qualifications.

The Design of New National Qualifications

The new courses will use a new type of unit – more skills-based, less prescriptive, and more user-friendly. These units will require knowledge and understanding as well as skills.

Their specifications will be more flexible and open. They will have fewer, broader outcomes that encourage holistic assessment, and will rely on assessors to exercise professional judgement instead of having to satisfy long lists of criteria.

Both National 4 and National 5 will be based on a nominal 160 hours of study, and in both there will be flexibility in the number of units.


Assessment will be appropriate to the subject and level, and will include practical work, performance, case studies, examinations and projects. All Unit assessment will be assessed pass/fail within centres. SQA will provide rigorous external quality assurance, including external verification, to ensure assessment judgements are consistent and meet national standards.

To be awarded the Course, learners would have to provide evidence which meets the requirements of all of the units and (for National 5) pass an external assessment.

Where it is appropriate for the subject area, qualification designers will develop a combined assessment that will provide evidence that the learner has achieved the requirements of the units, reducing the amount of assessment required. Unit by unit assessments will be also available for learners who need to build up their achievement over time.

Adding value

Each course will include a 40-hour added value element.

For National 4, the course will include an added value unit. This will require the learner to demonstrate depth of understanding and/or application of skills. This will not be graded.

For National 5, the course will include an external assessment. This will sample breadth, depth and application from across the Course. The external assessment will be graded.

The full technical version will be available shortly.

More from the SQA on their CfE Website: sqa.org.uk/curriculumforexcellence