January 27 2015

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A guide to the Understanding Standards website

A Guide to the Website

1. About the Understanding Standards Website
Welcome to the Understanding Standards Website (USW), a website where we attempt to explain and illustrate the assessment principles underpinning the SQA courses featured. This site is specifically designed for use by subject teachers (rather than pupils or parents) and therefore assumes subject knowledge and some familiarity with the various assessment arrangements.

The USW has two objectives. First, to make comprehensive and definitive assessment guidelines easily accessible on a dedicated website. And, second, to provide a structure enabling subject teachers/lecturers to develop their marking skills online. This we have done by providing examples of candidate work and inviting the user to submit their marks and comments for these examples. When this has been done, the user can then see how their marking compares with that of senior examiners in the subject.

We hope that you find the website a helpful way of developing your skills in marking and assessment.

New website 

The new Understanding Standards website was launched on 5 March 2012. Content is still being transferred across. When this process has been completed - expected to be sometime in the summer of 2012 - this site will be withdrawn.  

›Link to new website

2. Latest additions to the website
Details of new content / changes will be posted here:

  • 2 February 2012 - German Standard Grade published as a NEW COURSE
  • 7 December 2011 - Higher Business Management WITHDRAWN (see note on subject homepage)
  • 2 December 2011 - Int 2 Art and Design UPDATED with new folio examples
  • 28 November 2011 - Higher Physical Education UPDATED with new examples
  • 14 October 2011 - Personal Dev UPDATED with example targets and tasks
  • 4 May 2011- Higher Art & Design UPDATED with new folio examples
  • 14 March 2011 - Care Higher published as NEW COURSE
  • 9 March 2011 - Sociology Higher and Int 2 published as NEW COURSES
  • 27 October 2010 - English Std Grade published as a NEW COURSE
  • 4 October 2010 - Classical Studies Higher published as a NEW COURSE
  • 4 October 2010 - Politics Higher published as a NEW COURSE
  • 29 September 2010 - Higher History UPDATED (new examples for Papers 1 and 2)
  • 23 August 2010 - Int 2 Hosp: Practical Cookery UPDATED (new example for Practical Assignment)
  • 22 June 2010 - Mathematics Higher UPDATED (new Question Paper examples)

3. Statistics
The top ten courses for September 2010:

Position Course Hits
1 English Higher 1476
2 Business Management Higher 1087
3 English Intermediate 2 813
4= History Higher 772
4= Intro Tutoring Adult Literacies PDA 772
6 Modern Studies Advanced Higher 606
7 History Intermediate 2 561
8 English Intermediate 1 542
9 Administration Higher 460
10 Art and Design Higher 447

4. Technical Information
The Understanding Standards website uses pdf files. To be able to read the pdf files you will need a pdf reader.

PC Users
If you have a PC running Windows and you do not already have a pdf reader, the Adobe Reader is available as a free download.

Mac Users
If your Mac is running OS X then it already come with a reader called Preview installed, however this may not display the pdfs the way the website was designed to show them. The Adobe Acrobat Reader is recommended for viewing the Examples, this is available as a free download.

Internet Explorer is not supported for Mac OSX and may cause problems when viewing the Examples. Alternative browsers which are supported are Safari and Firefox.

*Anyone using the most up to date version of Firefox or Safari should be aware that the site may not render properly and data may not be visible. Until the release of the new site there is the option to use either an older version of the browser or to switch to Internet Explorer.

5. Feedback
You can contact the project team by email at usw at sqa dot org dot uk or call 0845 213 5406/5407 during office hours. Any suggestions or comments about the Understanding Standards website and this introduction are gratefully received.

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