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Support and Sampling During Delivery

The second stage of internal verification is the during delivery stage. This includes:

  • creating and managing standardisation activities
  • sampling of candidates’ assessed work
  • sampling of assessment practice, where applicable
  • feedback by internal verifiers to assessors
  • consideration of feedback from SQA external verification
  • confirmation of results
  • supporting assessors, responding to queries
  • IVs providing a second opinion in internal assessment appeals, cases of suspected malpractice in internal assessments, and on special assessment arrangements
Role of Assessor Role of Internal Verifier
Standardise assessment of candidates with colleagues.

Participate in or lead standardisation activities.

Ensure standardisation activities have taken place.

Raise any concerns or queries

Respond to queries, provide support and guidance to assessors.

Make assessment judgements / respond to feedback from the internal verifier where required.

Sample assessment processes, practices and evidence, including assessor judgements. Provide feedback to assessor(s).

Provide second opinion in internal assessment appeals, if required.

Provide second opinion in cases of malpractice in internal assessment, if required.

Feedback to candidates.

Agree final results.

During delivery Records

A pro forma is provided for recording discussions and actions from meetings during the delivery of the qualification. These may be staff team meetings or smaller, informal meetings. This has a checklist of issues to be discussed during the year and allows you to record actions and decisions succinctly.


The SQA publication Internal Verification: A Guide to Centres gives guidance on a range of standardisation exercises and on sampling of candidate assessment by internal verifiers.

The following examples are standardisation exercises used by centres:

  • Agreement trials
  • Dual assessment
  • Cross assessment
  • Evidence review
  • Double marking
  • Blind marking

Sampling assessment judgements

Your sampling strategy will depend on the structure of your organisation and the range of qualifications you are delivering. The strategy you are using should be recorded.

Sampling might be as simple as two assessors cross-marking a number of candidate assessments.

If, however, you have a number of different assessors and groups of candidates undertaking the same qualification you will need to have a sampling strategy which will allow the internal verifier(s) to check that each assessor is making consistent assessment judgements in line with national standards, with each group of candidates over time.

The number of candidates included in the sample for internal verification should be proportionate to the total number of candidates you have. You might choose to use a defined percentage, or the square root of the total.

In the first year of delivery of a new qualification, you should verify assessments from every candidate group marked by every assessor. You might only need to sample a few from each group, or expand on the sample to explore further.

After the first year, the following factors should be taken into consideration in prioritising what to sample:

  • New assessors (new to the qualification)
  • Any changes to the Unit or assessments since the last delivery
  • Any issues identified at the last internal or external verification
  • Different approaches to assessment used with different groups
  • Different locations of candidates and/or resources used
  • Different modes of attendance/study

You may not need to look at every Unit every year, once you are confident that national standards are being applied, and where there have been no changes since the previous year. You could apply a rolling programme of verification sampling to ensure that a check on standards is maintained over time. Once you have carried out initial planned sampling, if you have concerns, you may wish to expand the sample or sample again at a later stage in the delivery, before resulting is allowed.

A pro forma is provided for recording the sampling of candidates’ assessed work by the internal verifier, feedback to the assessor and action points. This is for use for groups of candidates and would be used in conjunction with the records of candidate achievement to record which candidates’ work has been sampled.

Internal Assessment Appeals

Internal verification applies to qualifications, or elements of qualifications, which are internally assessed. The fact that they are internally assessed means that the centre delivering them must have a documented procedure for dealing with appeals from candidates about their results in assessments, if they feel that they have been treated unfairly in the assessment. Internal verifiers have a role in this (see Stage 2 below).

The procedure should have three stages, as follows:

Stage 1 — Informal

The appeals process begins with a preliminary informal stage where the candidate raises their concerns with their assessor.

Stage 2 — Informal

If the matter is not resolved with the assessor, the advice of the internal verifier for the Unit/qualification should be sought on the validity of the result awarded.

Stage 3 — Formal

If the matter is not resolved through the informal stages, a formal appeal should be submitted in writing to a senior member of staff, who will investigate the matter and respond. This could be e.g. a manager or the SQA Coordinator. You may want to include in your procedure that an Appeals Panel will be convened at this stage, comprised of staff who have not previously been involved in the appeal in question.

The outcome of Stage 3 should be communicated in writing to the candidate and records should be retained.

Each stage should have appropriate timescales set for acknowledging receipt of the appeal and responding. There should also be defined timescales for being able to raise an appeal (eg within a month of the assessment in question).

All the candidates must be made aware of the appeals procedure, and given support in submitting and providing evidence for their appeal, if they require it.


SQA centres must have procedures for dealing with instances of suspected malpractice in internal assessments. Internal verifiers may be asked to provide a second opinion during investigations of suspected malpractice.

Candidate malpractice means malpractice by a candidate in the course of completing an assessment and can arise in:

  • the preparation and authentication of assessment materials
  • the preparation or presentation of practical work
  • the compilation of portfolios of internal assessment evidence
  • conduct during an internal assessment


  • Plagiarism — failure to acknowledge sources properly and/or the submission of another person’s work as if it were the candidate’s own.
  • Collusion with others when an assessment must be completed by individual candidates.
  • Copying from another candidate (including using ICT to do so).
  • Personation — pretending to be someone else.
  • Inclusion of inappropriate, offensive, discriminatory or obscene material in assessment evidence.
  • Frivolous content — producing content that is unrelated to the assessment.
  • Unauthorised aids — physical possession of unauthorised materials (including mobile phones, MP3 players, notes etc) during the internal assessment.
  • Inappropriate behaviour during an internal assessment that causes disruption to others. This includes shouting and/or aggressive behaviour or language.

Dealing with suspected cases of candidate malpractice

Candidates must be made aware of what malpractice is and the potential outcomes of committing malpractice.

Where an assessor suspects malpractice in an internal assessment, the internal verifier should be alerted in the first instance and asked for a second opinion. If doubt remains over the authenticity of the candidate’s work, then further investigation should be carried out by a relevant manager. This may result in a candidate disciplinary process. Different sanctions may be applied for different categories of malpractice.

Records of all investigations of malpractice in all other qualifications should be retained to be provided on request by SQA.

Centre malpractice

The following are examples of centre malpractice:

  • Misuse of assessments, including repeated re-assessment contrary to requirements, or inappropriate adjustments to assessment decisions.
  • Insecure storage of assessment instruments and marking guidance.
  • Failure to comply with requirements for accurate and safe retention of candidate evidence, assessment and internal verification records.
  • Failure to comply with SQA’s procedures for managing and transferring accurate candidate data.
  • Excessive direction from assessors to candidates on how to meet national standards.
  • Deliberate falsification of records in order to claim certificates.

Staff must make every effort to avoid centre malpractice, and should report any concerns to the head of centre. It is a requirement on centres that all cases of centre malpractice are reported to SQA. Candidates or other members of the public can also report any instances of suspected malpractice to the SQA, who will then investigate the matter.

The internal verification process should be used to ensure that the required conditions for assessment are in place and that correct assessment and resulting records are completed and retained in line with SQA’s requirements.


Post-Delivery Review


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