SQA Assessments

This section of the Dunblane High School website provides information of the type of SQA Assessments for all our S4-S6 candidates

The SQA is perhaps best known for the delivery of the annual diet of public examinations within Scotland; each year the Authority organises public examinations in a wide range of subjects, at various levels, for school pupils and college students.

Dunblane High School normally offers a range of National Qualifications (NCs) -National 4 to Advanced Higher - that are certificated by the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA)



Which qualifications are changing?

  • Access 1 and Access 2 will be replaced by National 1 and National 2
  • Access 3 and Standard Grade(Foundation level) will be replaced by National 3
  • Standard Grade (General level) and Intermediate 1 will be replaced by National 4
  • Standard Grade (Credit level) and Intermediate 2 will be replaced by National 5
  • Higher will be replaced by Higher (new)
  • Advanced Higher will be replaced by Advanced Higher (new)

National 3 and National 4 will marked internally by DHS.

National 3 and 4 Courses will be made up of Units, including an Added Value Unit.

In order to achieve a Course at National 4, learners will need to pass all Units plus an Added Value Unit assessment. The National 4 Added Value Unit assessment will be set and marked by your child’s school or college. SQA will set the National 4 Added Value Unit assessments in 2013-14 and 2014-15. The Added Value Unit assessment performs a similar function to the Course assessment at National 5 and above.

National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Courses will also include Units that are assessed and marked by the school or college. In order to achieve a Course at National 5, Higher or Advanced Higher, learners must pass all Units plus a Course assessment. Course assessments will continue to be externally marked by SQA or, where appropriate, internally assessed by DHS, ensuring continuity with the current qualifications.

The Course assessment will normally be carried out using one or two assessment methods from seven possible types:

  • assignment
  • case study
  • practical activity
  • performance
  • portfolio
  • project
  • question paper/test

Assessments will be appropriate to the subject and level of study.


Courses at National 2, National 3 and National 4 will not be graded, but assessed as 'pass' or 'fail'.

Courses at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher will be graded A to D, or 'No Award'.

New quality assurance arrangements are being introduced to ensure that the new qualifications are recognised as a valuable achievement for learners. SQA is working with schools and colleges to ensure that all assessments are secure, valid and reliable. We will also make sure they are fair, consistent, in line with national standards, and can be trusted by colleges, universities and employers in the future.



For session 2013-14 only and for S5-S6 students.

These courses were introduced with the Higher Still reforms of 1999. There are seven National Courses: Access 1, Access 2, Access 3, Intermediate 1, Intermediate 2, Higher, (normally at age 15-18) and Advanced Higher (normally at age 17-18). Intermediate 1 and 2 and Access 3 are either set in place of Standard Grade in some schools (i.e. Art & Design, Modern Studies & Hospitality in DHS) or at ages 16–18 in addition to Highers and Advanced Highers

Since the introduction of Highers, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2 courses, the SQA  subsequently introduced a National Assessment Bank of short examinations for each subject. These are more commonly known as NABs or Unit Assessments, and contain questions from specific academic units at a basic level.

Each candidate must pass a certain number of NABs (usually three) before they can be presented for the final examination, although resits can occur with other NAB materials