National qualifications are available at the following levels:
- National Qualifications: National 3, National 4, National 5
- National 6 (Higher)
- National 7 (Advanced Higher)
The new qualifications have been developed to support Curriculum for Excellence while recognising that there are different types of learners; they reward a wide range of achievement and reflect the work that learners have completed throughout the academic year. Each course is designed to be completed in 160 hours of study, hence the changes to Inverclyde’s S4 curriculum model which was implemented from session 2015 – 16.
There is more focus on skills development compared to the existing qualifications; the new qualifications are better suited to testing the skills required to succeed in the 21st century. There is also a greater emphasis on “deeper learning” by helping learners to think for themselves; to apply and interpret the knowledge and understanding they have developed and to demonstrate the skills they have learned. The new qualifications will equip learners with the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to face the challenges of 21st century society.
Assessment in the new qualifications will promote breadth and depth of understanding, will motivate and challenge learners, and will ensure a smooth progression from one qualification level to the next (e.g. when progressing from National 5 to Higher). They have a greater focus on skills development, but will still retain the important elements of knowledge and understanding. The assessment methods that will be used reflect this new emphasis on the application of skills.
For most subjects at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher, there will be an appropriate balance between exams and Coursework (assignments, portfolios, practical activities etc). This is to ensure a balance between the assessment of knowledge, understanding and skills; appropriate to the subject and level.
More information on course progression will be given at parent information evenings.