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Internal Verification Toolkit

What is internal verification and how can it help you?

An internal verification system helps centres ensure, from start to finish, that all assessments being offered are valid reliable, practicable, equitable and fair — and helps assessors to apply the standards of assessment uniformly and consistently. 

Centres that develop effective internal verification systems are helping to safeguard the quality of all of the SQA qualifications they offer.

Internal Verification:

  • helps to ensure that all assessors understand national standards and can apply them
  • facilitates collaboration between assessors and internal verifiers in all assessment sites
  • enables and ensures fair, accurate and consistent assessment judgements
  • supports the credibility of internally-assessed Units and Awards with candidates, the public employers, higher education institutions etc.
  • allows quality concerns to be captured and addressed
  • helps to protect assessors against challenges to professional assessment judgements
  • supports preparation for successful external verification

In this toolkit, the terms ‘assessor’ and ‘internal verifier’ are used throughout.

‘Assessor’ refers to a person making assessment decisions in relation to SQA Units/Awards. They may be using SQA assessment exemplars or may devise their own assessments, in line with the assessment strategies or guidance for the qualification.

The ‘internal verifier’, in summary:

  • supports assessors in understanding and applying national standards
  • collaborates with assessors and other internal verifiers to ensure that assessment approaches are fit-for-purpose (before prior verification by SQA, if applicable)
  • samples the assessment judgements of assessors to ensure that they are valid and reliable

Models of Internal Verification

The model of internal verification used is at the discretion of the centre. The approach to internal verification that you choose needs to work within the context of your own centre.
Whichever model you choose, under no circumstances should the internal verifier verify their own assessment judgements, or assessments which they have devised.

There are several broad approaches, including:

  • Allocating responsibility to named members of staff for carrying out internal verification relating to particular Units/Awards. This has the advantage of giving the designated internal verifier a view of all assessment activities relating to the Units/Awards they are responsible for quality assuring.
  • Allocating responsibility to named members of staff for carrying out internal verification relating to particular assessors.
  • All members of staff taking responsibility for both assessing and internally verifying Units. This has the advantage of allowing all staff to take part in assessment and verification, helping to promote an in-depth understanding of Unit/Award requirements and facilitating standardisation by, for example, the cross-marking of each other’s assessments.

If you need guidance on choosing an approach to verification, check our Frequently Asked Questions and use our Internal Verification Self-Assessment Form (see Section 5). We recommend that you read through Sections 2 to 4 for guidance before you consider the self-assessment.

The Stages of Internal Verification

Internal verification can be divided into three separate stages:

  • Plan: pre-delivery - understanding standards
  • Do: ongoing support for assessor and sampling of student evidence
  • Review: post-delivery reflection and review

The internal verification toolkit allows you to think about the activities you undertake at each of these stages.
It is important that key activities relating to internal verification are documented. Primarily, this will support you in managing internal assessment and verification and planning for improvement, but will also allow you to demonstrate to SQA that an effective internal verification system is in place.

The internal verification toolkit provides you with templates that can be used to successfully support an effective internal verification process.