SQA and SATPE – Professional Discussion

  • It is good practice to gather video recordings of pupil performance. If a young person picks up an injury or illness and is unable to sit their practical performance, retrospective video footage can be utilised to award marks (as long as the footage is from the year of presentation).
  • If a young person is injured during their performance. One of three decisions should be made by centres.
  1. If the pupil has completed an appropriate duration (duration will differ depending on performance context), marks can be awarded.
  2. If the student has not completed an appropriate duration, the performance should be rescheduled and marked as normal.
  3. If the injury is of a serious nature and the performance cannot be rescheduled, alternative appropriate evidence should be assessed (i.e. classwork videos); only if the evidence is from the year of presentation.


  • Increased practical performance moderation is encouraged. The SQA are in the process of creating more understanding standards video exemplars (which will be available for next session). These videos will be much more diverse in terms of activity nature and performance context. They will also highlight clear comparisons and differences between National 4, 5, Higher and Advanced Higher performance levels.


  • Centres are encouraged to internally verify a selection of in class performances and must provide assessor comments to this selection. This will enhance quality assurance and set an assessment standard prior to summative marking.


  • Performance marks remain substantially higher than portfolio/exam marks. Moving to two performances at National 5 level has not yet shown the expected differentiation between candidates that was anticipated. The SQA are looking to provide further support to centres to ensure they feel confident and supported when applying the marking criteria.


  • Examples of good assessment practice within centres include…
  1. Centres combining for performance days. Where possible, staff assess pupils from the other centre, increasing assessment objectivity and rigor
  2. A centre invites a colleague(s) to informally and impartially verify practical performance (either live or through video)
  3. Objective blind marking amongst staff members followed by quality professional dialogue as opposed to paired/collaborative marking
  4. Ensuring that assessors have the necessary expertise in selected performance area. Assessor credibility adds to validity. Coaches cannot carry out the assessment, it has to be a teacher.
  • The new Higher specimen paper (50 marks, 2.5 hours) was generally very well received by a test group of candidates who sat this exam in June 2018. Feedback was overwhelmingly positive regarding exam structure and nature of questions.



  • Section 2 of the Higher paper will always range between 6 and 10 marks and can focus on one theme within a PDP (i.e. goal setting). However, it can also take a more holistic approach, focusing on a range of themes related to the PDP (i.e. recording, monitoring and evaluating, feedback, principles of training, principles of effective practice etc.)


  • Section 3 of the Higher paper (scenario) will always range between 8 and 12 marks and will no longer ask about/give candidates options to select all factors. Section 3 will now provide a specific factor(s) focus e.g. Mental and Social factors.


  • The Advanced Higher dissertation will now include the FIP unit of work. Discussions are ongoing as to where this will feature within the project.  


Download SQA update – June 2019