Action on teacher workload confirmed

SQA to remove unit assessments at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher levels.

The proposal to reduce assessment workload for teachers and learners by removing mandatory unit assessments, has been ratified by curriculum leaders.

In a meeting with Deputy First Minister John Swinney , the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board endorsed the removal of mandatory unit assessment for National 5 courses from 2017-18 and Higher courses from 2018-19.

The group also agreed that mandatory unit assessments will be removed from Advanced Higher courses from 2019-20. In addition, SQA will suspend the random sample element of unit verification for a further year (2017-18).

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will take forward the new approach and will publish more detail for teachers as soon as this is available.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said:

“Removing unit assessment from National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses will significantly reduce the workload burden for our teachers, giving them more time to focus on what is most important – teaching our young people - while maintaining the core principles of Curriculum for Excellence.

“Instead of unit assessments, certification will be based on a strengthened final exam and externally assessed coursework. I have asked the SQA to take forward this work, and to spell out exactly what this means in practice.

“I have already taken action in response to feedback from teachers, to de-clutter the curriculum guidance and review the workload demands placed on teachers by local authorities.

“The new measures ratified by the CfE Management Board today will build on this work, reducing workload and over assessment for teachers and learners. They will ensure that teachers in Scotland have more time to teach, and contribute to closing the attainment gap."

Notes to editors

The development and management of Curriculum for Excellence is overseen by the CfE Management Board. It includes representatives of local authorities, teacher and head teacher associations, national bodies, the National Parent Forum of Scotland and Colleges and Universities. SQA is reviewing its approach to Quality Assurance, and will suspend its random checks on schools’ unit assessment for a further year, 2017-18.


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