Guide To Scottish Qualifications - SQA

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“SQA is proud to be at the heart of theeducation and skills system in Scotlandand is committed to helping learnersrealise their potential and to achievetheir ambitions.”Fiona RobertsonChief Executive of SQA2

Scottish Qualifications explainedSQA qualifications are designed and structuredto support people on their individual learningjourneys, and give Scottish businesses a competitiveadvantage by enhancing the quality of the workforce.At first sight, the Scottish qualifications systemmight seem complex, but it is really verystraightforward. Qualifications sit at various levelsallowing the learner to make strides from onequalification to the next, or to change pathsat an equivalent level, which gives everyone theopportunity to achieve their full and true potential.SQA has a wide range of robust, relevant andrespected qualifications which are designedin partnership with industry experts to ensurelearners gain the skills and experience neededin the workplace.Find out more at

SCQFThe Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework(SCQF) helps to make the relationships betweenqualifications clearer. It covers achievements suchas those from school, college, university, and manywork-based qualifications. Qualifications in theSCQF are compared using two measures: leveland credit. The level of a qualification shows howdifficult the learning is, and the amount of creditshows the size of the qualification.This ready reckoner shows SQA Qualifications inthe Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework.4

123456789101112LevelsSCQF54SVQ 11National 1356789SVQ 2SVQ 3*Benchmark qualifications of higher education institutionsHigher National CertificateSVQ AwardsProfessionalDevelopmentAwardsNational 2Advanced HigherScottish BaccalaureatesHigherSkills for Work HigherNational 5 /Skills for Work National 5National 4 /Skills for Work National 4National 3 /Skills for Work National 3Higher National DiplomaOrdinary Degree*Honours Degree*11Masters*SVQ 512SCQFLevelsDoctorate*Scottish Credit and Qualifications FrameworkSQA Qualifications in the

Ready Reckoner for SQA Qualifications in the ional 531824National 3264National 21National 4HigherSCQF SCQFlevel creditpointsNational qualificationsNational CertificateNational CertificateHigher National CertificateHigher National Diploma1-12 6 varies8-911SCQF levelSVQ 456-74SVQ 3SVQ 1SVQ 2SVQ 5Scottish Vocational Qualifications 2National Progression Awards1ProfessionalDevelopmentAwards1 6-12 variesAwards1Group AwardsCustomer Contact Centre 0345 279 1000 UnitsSCQF levels 5-12The Scottish Credit andQualifications Framework (SCQF)helps people to understand andcompare different qualificationsin Scotland.It does this by using twomeasures:National UnitsSCQF level 76National 1104SCQFcredit pointsScottish Baccalaureates7SCQFlevel1These are flexible Group Awards. SCQF credit points will vary according to thenumber of credits that they are made up of.Please refer to SQA’s website for information on SVQs. The allocation of SCQF creditpoints and levels to SVQs will be undertaken as and when they are revised.2More information on the SCQF, and SQA's interactive ready reckoner, can be found at UnitsvariesSCQF levels 4-12National UnitsSCQF levels 1-6Levels (1-12) show how complexthe learning of a qualification is.Credit points indicate the volumeof learning required to achievea qualification.One SCQF credit point represents10 notional learning hours.SQA qualifications are developedusing SCQF level and credit points.This information is shown onthe Scottish QualificationsCertificate. The Ready Reckonershows the level and creditpoints for SQA Units, Coursesand Group

National QualificationsNational Qualifications (NQs) are one of the mostimportant types of qualification in Scotland.Almost everyone leaving school or collegetoday has one or more NQ.NQs are taken by students in secondary schoolsand colleges (and some training providers).They can also be taken by adult learners.They cover subjects to suit everyone’s interestsand skills, from Chemistry to Construction,History to Hospitality, and Computing to Care.Range of NQs available: National Units National Courses Skills for Work Courses Scottish Baccalaureates7

National Qualifications (NQ)National 1 unitsNational 3 coursesNational 1 units are assessedas pass or fail by a teacheror lecturer.National 3 courses aremade up of units whichare assessed as pass or failby a teacher or lecturer.They could lead to: National 2 courses Awards at SCQF level 1or 2National 2 coursesNational 2 courses aremade up of units whichare assessed as pass or failby a teacher or lecturer.Learners need to passall units to achieve thequalification.They could lead to: National 3 courses Awards at SCQF level2 or 38Learners need to passall units to achieve thequalification.They could lead to: Related courses atNational 4 Awards at SCQF level3 or 4 National Certificates (NC)or National ProgressionAwards (NPA) Employmentopportunities

National 4 coursesNational 5 coursesNational 4 courses aremade up of units, includingan added value unitwhich assesses learners’performance across thecourse. These units areassessed as pass or failby a teacher or lecturerand learners need to passall units, including theadded value unit, toachieve the qualification.National 5 courses areassessed through a questionpaper (exam) or coursework,or both — most of which willbe marked by SQA. In somesubjects, coursework ismarked by a teacher orlecturer. The courses aregraded A to D or ‘no award’.They could lead to: National 5 courses units or awards at SCQFlevel 4 or 5 National Certificate (NC)or National ProgressionAward (NPA) Modern Apprenticeshipsor other employmentopportunitiesThey could lead to: Higher courses units or awards at SCQFlevel 5 or 6 National Certificate (NC)or National ProgressionAward (NPA) Foundation Apprenticeship Modern Apprenticeshipat SCQF level 6Higher CoursesHigher courses are madeup of units* and a courseassessment. The courseassessment involves a question9

paper (exam) or coursework,or both — most of which willbe marked by SQA. In somesubjects, coursework is markedby a teacher or lecturer.The courses are graded A toD or ‘no award’ and learnersneed to pass all units plusthe course assessment toachieve the qualification.They could lead to: Advanced Higher courses units or awards at SCQFlevel 6 or 7 National Certificate (NC)or National ProgressionAward (NPA) Higher National Certificate(HNC) or Higher NationalDiploma (HND)a course assessment. Thecourse assessment involvesa question paper (exam) orcoursework, or both — mostof which will be markedby SQA. In some subjects,coursework is markedby a teacher or lecturer.The courses are graded A toD or ‘no award’ and learnersneed to pass all units plusthe course assessment toachieve the qualification.They could lead to: Higher National Diploma(HND) Undergraduate Degree Technical Apprenticeshipat SCQF level 8 Undergraduate Degree Modern Apprenticeshipat SCQF level 7Advanced Higher coursesAdvanced Higher coursesare made up of units* and10*Units will be removed fromHigher courses from 2018-19and Advanced Highercourses from 2019-20.For more information,

National QualificationsSkills for Work CoursesSkills for Work courses are designed to introducelearners to the demands and expectations of theworld of work.They are available in a variety of areas such asconstruction, hairdressing and hospitality.Find out more at BaccalaureatesScottish Baccalaureates are qualifications at SCQFlevel 7, and are available to learners in S5 and S6.There are Scottish Baccalaureates in Expressive Arts,Languages, Science, and Social Sciences. They areawarded as a pass or distinction.The Scottish Baccalaureate contains an InterdisciplinaryProject which allows learners to develop and showevidence of initiative, responsibility, and independentworking — skills of real value in the world of highereducation.Find out more at

Ushare —Join thecommunityWhether you are delivering a qualification or studying for one,finding the right study materials online can be a challenge.With Ushare, when you find a quality resource, you can readit, rate it and recommend it – then share it with the Usharecommunity, so the outstanding resources really stand out.Find out more atwww.ushare.education12BusinessDevelopmentT: 0303 333 0330

Qualifications for WorkIntroduction to Work Place SkillsThe Introduction to Work Place Skills (IWPS)is a qualification designed specifically for youngpeople aged 16-19 that have a positive “can do”attitude and are preparing for the world of work,but need some support to develop their core skillsand employability skills. Young people will get anemployer assessed work experience placementof a minimum of 150 hours.Successful completion of this qualification givesthe young person evidence of their core skills andexperience, from which they can progress on tothe Certificate of Work Readiness, further training,education or employment.Find out more at

Qualifications For WorkCertificate of Work Readiness (CWR)The Certificate of Work Readiness is an award designedspecifically for young people who are ready for theirfirst experience of the world of work, but need someguided support. The certificate includes a uniqueemployer assessed “real life” work experience placement,providing a meaningful qualification and a crediblestandard employers can recognise and trust.Successful completion of this award offers theyoung person greatly improved job prospects andtransferable skills in self evaluation, planning and goalsetting that can be applied to any workplace.This qualification is available through collegesand training providers working in partnershipwith employers.Find out more at

Foundation ApprenticeshipsFoundation Apprenticeships are new, work-basedlearning qualifications for secondary school pupilsand enable pupils in S4 to S6 to complete elementsof a Modern Apprenticeship while still at school.Depending on the subject they choose, pupils willstudy towards Foundation Apprenticeships alongsidetheir other subjects, but they’ll also spend part of theschool week at college or with a local employer. As wellas working towards industry-recognised qualificationsthey will develop skills, experience and capabilityin a live business environment.Find out more ipsModern ApprenticeshipsModern Apprenticeships offer anyone aged over 16 paidemployment combined with the opportunity to trainfor jobs at craft, technician and management level.They are designed to help create a high-calibreworkforce. They are supported by the Confederationof Business and Industry, the Trade Union Congressand a wide range of employers. All the ModernApprenticeship frameworks are developed by theindustry or sector in which they will be implemented.An overview on Modern Apprenticeships isavailable on the SQA website ( and specific informationon individual Modern Apprenticeships can be foundat www.apprenticeships.scot15

AwardsSQA Awards are characterised by their flexiblenature and are nationally recognised. TheseAwards are suitable for a wide range of peopleat different stages.They provide learners with opportunities to acquireskills, recognise achievement and promoteconfidence through independent thinking andpositive attitudes, while motivating learnersto be successful and participate positivelyin the wider community.The level of Award attained depends on thequality of response and the amount of supportreceived by the learner.Find out more about SQA’s Awardsat

Wider AchievementSQA Awards are designed to recognise WiderAchievement and the development of skillswhich will help learners to succeed in today’sworld. Wider Achievement recognises the lifeand work skills that come from a wide range ofactivities which can include sport, mentoring,voluntary work or fundraising activities —whether they take place at school, collegeor elsewhere.We have a number of SQA Awards from SCQFlevels 1 to 6 — all suitable for a broad rangeof learners.Find out more

Scottish Vocational QualificationsScottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs) arebased on national standards which are drawn upby people from industry, commerce and education.There are SVQs for nearly all occupations inScotland, from forestry to IT, managementto catering, journalism to construction.Discover how you can gain paid employmentcombined with the opportunity to train for jobsat craft, technician and management level.Find out more at

Professional Development AwardsProfessional Development Awards (PDAs) areaimed at developing the skills of those alreadyin professional employment.They are principally designed for those alreadyin a career or vocation who wish to extend orbroaden their skills base. They may also beembedded within another qualification suchas HNC/HND.Find out more at

National Certificates andNational Progression AwardsNational Certificates (NCs) and National ProgressionAwards (NPAs) provide those preparing for workwith opportunities to develop skills much soughtafter by employers.National Certificates (NCs)NCs are designed to prepare people for employment,career development or progression to more advancedstudy at HNC/HND level. They also aim to develop arange of transferable knowledge including Core Skills.These certificates are aimed at 16-18 year olds oradults in education and are at SCQF Levels 2 to 6.Each one has specific aims relating to a subjector occupational area.Find out more: Progression Awards (NPAs)NPAs are aimed at assessing a defined set of skillsand knowledge in specialist vocational areas — linkingto National Occupational Standards, which are thebasis of SVQs.Available at SCQF Levels 2 to 6, NPAs are successfullydelivered in partnership between schools, colleges,employers and training providers in a varietyof sectors.Find out more at

Higher National QualificationsHNs are offered by colleges, universities andmany other training centres. Higher NationalCertificates (HNCs), Higher National Diplomas(HNDs) and Professional Development Awards(PDAs) are specially designed to meet theneeds of employers.HN Qualifications can also give candidates accessto the 2nd or 3rd year entry at University andmembership to professional bodies.Find out more at

Working with SQASQA is committed to the future of education, skillsand training. In an ever-changing learning andskills landscape, we value our strong relationshipswith employers and industry. Working together wecan deliver the right skills for Scotland and changelives through learning.Every business working with SQA has a dedicatedAccount Manager – one point of contact whowill take the time to get to know you and howyou work, and who understands the particularchallenges in your area.Get in touch, we’re here to help.0303 333 033022


Get in touch todaySQA is committed to developing and maintainingqualifications that meet the needs of Scotland’slearners, communities and economy.Our aim is to make it easy for our customers tooffer industry-leading, internationally-recognisedqualifications by providing a level of service thatworks every step of the way.Get in touch today.Business DevelopmentT: 0303 333 0330E: 2019

Doctorate* Masters* Honours Degree* Ordinary Degree* Higher National Diploma Higher National Certificate . Customer Contact Centre 0345 279 1000 AD7071 The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) . and Computing to Care.

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