Are grades in National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher Courses banded? Yes, however this information does not appear on the candidate's qualifications certificate. The certificate will simply state that the candidate has achieved grade A, B, C or D. If a candidate wishes to find out which band they have achieved, they will need to contact their school or college. The school or college will be provided with details of which band the candidate achieved their grade at; for example, where a candidate has achieved an A, if they achieved an A (upper) at Band 1 or an A (lower) at Band 2.
What does Grade D mean? National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses are graded A, B, C or D. Grade D indicates that the candidate has achieved a band 7 in the course assessment, which equates to 40-49%. Candidates who score less than 40% receive a 'No Award' result and are not awarded the course. SQA does not count a Grade D (band 7) as contributing to any Course or Group Award it may be part of, whether an Award, National Progression Award, National Certificate or Professional Development Award.
Is a Grade D at National 5 higher than a pass at National 4? Yes. National 5 Courses carry 24 Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) credit points at SCQF level 5, reflected the level of demand and difficulty involved.
National 4 Courses - which are not graded - also carry 24 SCQF points, however these are at SCQF level 4, which has a lower level of demand and challenge.
What are grade boundaries and how do they work? Grade boundaries are the marks required to achieve a particular grade within a Course. For each National Course, the Course assessment (whether question paper or coursework, or both) has an intended level of demand and difficulty which reflects the grade descriptors for the Course and the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) level at which it is set.
If the Course assessment is found to be easier or more difficult than intended, adjustments are made to make sure the national standard of the Course is maintained. In other words, to make sure that the level of difficulty required to achieve an A, B, C or D in the assessment remains unchanged from one year to the next. We take our responsibility to uphold the high standards of Scottish qualifications very seriously. What is the fallback position for candidates who receive a 'fail' or 'No Award' result? There is no automatic fallback position at any level. The opportunity to use Recognising Positive Achievement to gain a National 4 course award was removed at the end of session 2018-19. Ask your school or college for more information. Any candidates who receive a 'fail' or 'No Award' result, may be able to re-sit the following year. This is at the discretion of the school or college to decide whether or not to re-enter candidates for the course.