Delivering National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results in 2020-21 – learners

16 February 2021 - annemacleod - Categories: Advanced Higher, Awarding 2021 Programme, Higher, Learners, National 5

Qualifications 2022

Following the First Minister’s announcement earlier this afternoon, the National Qualifications Group* is sharing more information about how National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will be resulted in session 2020-21.

The stages for delivering National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results in 2021 make up the alternative certification model. This includes the Appeals service for 2021. Further information on the Appeals service will be available after public consultation.

The Group knows that when you go back into your classrooms you will need time with your teachers and lecturers to review your learning. This is called consolidating your learning. To make sure there is as much time as possible for consolidating your learning and completing assessments, the final date for your school, college or training provider to send your provisional results to SQA has been extended to Friday 25 June 2021.

SQA will not change your provisional results. They will check for any administrative errors that may occur when schools, colleges and training providers enter the data into the system. You will receive your final results by post on Tuesday 10 August 2021, and by text and or email if you register for this service at

You can stay up to date on your progress by talking to your teachers and/or lecturers.

Minimising disruption to learning

We know that you will have experienced disruption to your learning this session due to COVID-19. Actions have therefore been taken across the Scottish education system to ensure you have time to complete the assessment needed for your teachers and/or lecturers to determine your provisional results. For example, SQA has already reduced the assessment evidence needed for each National Course to the minimum while keeping the standards of the qualifications.

Published guidance and assessment support

Your provisional results will be based on the assessments you have done which are consistent with SQA’s subject-specific guidance. SQA has provided 250 subject-specific guidance documents and assessment materials, as well as Understanding Standards materials to help teachers and lecturers apply national standards consistently and fairly when assessing your evidence. Teachers and lecturers have the flexibility to collate assessment evidence in ways and at times that are appropriate to the needs of their learners.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance of qualifications is the process of carrying out checks to make sure that assessments are accurate and consistent with the national standards. It is at the heart of fair and credible certification, carried out locally in schools (with support from local authorities where appropriate), colleges and training providers, and nationally by SQA.

Local quality assurance ensures that grades are consistent and fair in schools, colleges and training providers across the whole of Scotland.

National quality assurance is carried out by SQA. It ensures that assessment evidence is appropriate and consistent with the national standard across all schools, colleges and training providers delivering the qualifications. It ensures that a grade A awarded in the north of Scotland is worth the same as a grade A awarded in the south of Scotland and everywhere in between.

Fairness for learners

The equality impact assessment and children’s rights and wellbeing impact assessment underpin this alternative certification model. They will continue to be developed as we progress with the Appeals service.

The alternative certification model aims to ensure fair and credible results for all National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher learners. Schools, colleges, training providers, local authorities and SQA are committed to working together to support your teachers and lecturers in providing your provisional results in 2020-21.

All partners are working as quickly as possible in an evolving situation to provide answers to your questions.

Stay up to date on 2021 National Qualifications.

National Qualifications 2021 Group

*The National Qualifications 2021 Group is represented by the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Colleges Scotland, Education Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), School Leaders Scotland (SLS), the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Scottish Government, National Parent Forum of Scotland, and the Scottish Youth Parliament.

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