These illustrate the standard, structure and requirements of the question papers learners will sit. These also include marking instructions.
General assessment information provides instructions for the conduct of coursework, an overview of the assessment task, evidence to be gathered and general marking instructions.
Coursework assessment tasks provide the live assessment task, including marking instructions and instructions for candidates. Teachers/lecturers can access these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
The guidance on conditions for assessment provides clarity on acceptable conduct during coursework, including reasonable assistance.
These documents contain details of Unit assessment task(s), show approaches to gathering evidence and how the evidence can be judged against the Outcomes and Assessment Standards. Teachers/lecturers can arrange access to these confidential documents through their SQA Co-ordinator.
We are publishing examples of candidate evidence with commentaries as part of our Understanding Standards programme. These materials are for teachers and lecturers to help them develop their understanding of the standards required for assessment. As these materials become available, they are being published in the following locations:
- Available from our secure website Materials relating to Unit assessment, internally assessed components of Course assessment, and externally assessed components of Course assessment which are subject to visiting assessment. Teachers and lecturers can arrange access to these materials through their SQA Co-ordinator.
- Available from our Understanding Standards website Materials relating to externally assessed components of Course assessment, with the exception of those subject to visiting assessment.
More information on our Understanding Standards programme, can be found on our Understanding Standards page.
There was no round 2 verification activity at this level in 2017.
There was no round 2 verification activity at this level in 2016.
The critical essay paper
The introductory paragraph
The introduction should not be too long and detailed and it should focus on the question right from the start.
- Identify the text and author
- Use words from the beginning of the question and show why the text is an appropriate one
- Refer to words from the second part of the question that set the task
- Indicate the topics/aspects that the rest of the essay will discuss in depth
In a sense, the introduction should be a summary of the whole essay – later paragraphs should not change the direction of the argument or introduce new and unexpected topics.
Expanding the paragraphs
The PEER approach:
Ensure you make frequent links back to the key phrases from the question, not only in the introduction but in topic sentences at the start of paragraphs.
The main body of the essay should be developed with a combination of statements and evidence.
Many teachers recommend the PEER structure:
Point (topic sentence)
Example (often in the form of a quotation)
Explanation / analysis
Respond in a way that is Relevant to the task
Here is an example of how to use this in a poetry essay:
This question suits Seamus Heaney’s poem Blackberry Picking well, as Heaney uses the poem as a means to reflect on how growing up naturally changes how we see the world. His experience of childhood summers spent picking fruit - only for the vast amount of it to rot - serves as a metaphor for life in general, where optimism and the focus on immediate pleasure are replaced by a natural conservatism and pessimism. There is a clear theme of change in the poem, as Heaney looks back on his younger self through the eyes of an adult, to see how life has changed.
Here is an example paragraph using the PEER structure that deals with the imagery in the poem:
(P) Heaney is convincing in his use of the extended metaphor, which brings to life his observation that childhood innocence must give way to adult realism. Just as the berries inevitably rot when picked from the bushes, we cannot escape the changes we go through when growing up. (E) After wildly picking every berry in sight, the persona and his friends return to the byre the next day, only to find the "glossy purple" berries have been transformed by a "rat-grey fungus". It becomes apparent in that moment that the berries are rotting and that in the children’s "lust for picking" they have failed to consider what might happen to the fruit. (E) By his use of the word "lust", Heaney is suggesting that the children pick the berries with a wild sense of abandon and that their desire to collect them in as vast a quantity as possible is almost uncontrollable. The berries have been transformed from "glossy purple" - connoting life, vitality and freshness - to "rat-grey" – a colour associated ultimately with decay and death. In the context of the poem, this experience clearly highlights the human condition itself, which can be summed up as the passage from innocence to experience. (R) It is only when the children have seen what has happened as a result of their efforts that they accept life isn’t always fair. Heaney leaves the reader pondering the fact that change – whether in terms of the berries or life in general - is inevitable, no matter how unlikely it may seem at the time.