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As part of the Scottish Government’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) programme, Scottish qualifications are changing.

The role of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is to design, develop and quality assure the new qualifications and assessments.

WHAT ARE THE NEW QUALIFICATIONS? New national qualifications called National 4 and National 5 will be introduced.

They will replace Standard Grade General, Standard Grade Credit, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2. Standard Grade Foundation will be replaced by the revised Access 3.

Revisions will also be made to the current Access 1, Access 2, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications.


The latest stage of the development process is the publication of the Course Rationales and Summaries for National 4 and National 5. These documents are currently available for comment on the SQA website until 31 March 2011.

At each stage of the qualifications development process, we are publishing draft documents in an open and transparent way to show the thinking at each stage and provide the opportunity to give feedback.

Comments are reported back to our development teams who will consider the feedback for the next phase.

The Course Rationales and Summaries follow the Design Principles, New Qualification Progress Reports and Overview of Qualifications Reports which were published last year.

Following the publication of the Course Rationales and Summaries for each qualification, the next documents to be published will be:

• Course Specifications • Unit Specifications • Course and Unit Support Notes • Course and Unit Assessment Specifications • Exemplification Materials

All of the qualifications being developed – Access 1- 3, National 4, National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher – will go through this process.


• Keep up to date with the latest developments –

• Let us know what you think –

• Sign up to our ‘MyAlerts’ service –

• Keep track of the latest milestones –

• Get in touch with the CfE Liaison Team –


Apr 2012 Formal publication of Qualifications/Course Arrangements and Specifications for Access 1-3, National 4, National 5 and Higher on SQA website

Apr 2013 Formal publication of Qualifications/Course Arrangements and Specifications for Advanced Higher on SQA website

Aug 2013 Last certification of Standard Grades 2013/14

Access 1-3, National 4 and National 5 introduced – ‘dual run’ alongside Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2

2014/15 New Higher introduced – ‘dual run’ alongside current Higher, Intermediate 1 and Intermediate 2

2015/16 New Advanced Higher introduced

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