Dear members,

I attended a meeting with Alastair Brown, Garry Camody and Linda McLean from the SQA last week and fielded the questions raised by members using our google form.  Please see below commentary, that has been confirmed by the above to be accurate.
Topic: National 5 Performances


Member Question: Is National 5 definitely one activity like Higher?

SQA Response: Yes, this can be found in the ‘Outcome of the technical consultation on the proposed modifications to the National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher course assessments for session 2020–21’ (page 115)


Member Question: Can I assess retrospectively for example for indoor performances?

SQA Response: All performances must have been completed during this Academic session. It remains critical for the validity of the qualification that demonstrated attainment is required for session 2020-21.
Member Question: Evidence Gathering, what is sufficient? Does it have to be video?

SQA Response:  The estimate guidance document  Is available to support centres in gathering evidence to generate an estimate. It is best practice to maintain video records of candidates’ progress and achievements throughout the session to support estimates.
Member Question: What are we going to do about Equity, some schools are allowing indoor access and some aren’t

SQA Response:  Whilst the SQA understand the concerns, Unfortunately, the SQA have no control over how centres take different approaches to the guidance given by Education Scotland.



Topic: National 5 Theory


Member Question:  Will Portfolios be marked?

SQA Response: There will not be markers, assessment will be completed in centres.


Member Question: Will there be sampling for moderation?

SQA Response: An update will be provided in due course about the quality assurance for N5 for all subjects.


Member Question:  Will there be additional standardisation events?

SQA Response: Subject specific guidance will be produced in November which will outline the support available to centres.
Member Question:  Are pupils expected to complete the portfolio/will it be modified?

SQA Response: Subject specific guidance will be produced in November which will outline the evidence required to form the basis for the final award and it is envisaged that this will include the portfolio.

Topic: General


Member Question:  Will there be Understanding Standards events for courses this year?

SQA Response:  Subject specific guidance will be produced in November which will outline the support available to centres, The SQA assured me they would get back to SATPE on this in the future.


SATPE Question:  We plan to run a series of moderation/standardisation events via Zoom to support internal marking of portfolios can we do some sort of collaboration?

SQA Response:  Unfortunately, as the examining body the SQA would not be allowed to do such a thing.  Whilst they do agree it is a good idea It Is not something that could be supported directly.


Member Question: Raised concern on difficulty finding clear cut Information within new guidance.

SQA Response:  As above, Subject specific guidance documents are hopeful to be released in early November, The SQA also suggested they will start to send out links to relevant documents and guidance to SATPE as soon as they become available and we will relay them to members.


If you submitted a question you do not believe has been answered here please contact me directly I will see to it anything missing is amended. Whilst we discussed members questions I also sought the support of the SQA on a series of Zoom moderation/Standardisation events.  The sign up link for this can be found in previous emails and shortly on the website.  The confirmation above of centre assessment of National 5 portfolios I am sure you will agree increases the need for professional development opportunities to ensure parity and consistency across the profession, so I urge you please do get involved either as a facilitator or as an attendee.

As Always….

SATPE is by teachers for teachers, I want the association to truly voice the opinion of the entire profession, if there is anything I can do to support you do not hesitate to contact me on

Paddy Cuthbertson
President SATPE