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Qualifications Developments in Scotland

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) was developed to meet the needs of Scotland's learners and was created by bringing together all Scottish mainstream qualifications into a single unified framework. It was developed in partnership by the Scottish Qualifications Authority, Universities Scotland, Quality Assurance Agency Scotland and the Scottish Executive and was launched in December 2001. It uses two measures to describe qualifications and learning programmes: level and credit. There are 12 levels within the Framework which indicate the complexity of learning, and credit points which show the volume of learning undertaken to achieve the qualification. The aims of the SCQF is to:

  • assist people of all ages and circumstances to access appropriate education and training over their lifetime to fulfil their personal, social and economic potential;
  • enable employers, learners and the public in general to understand the full range of Scottish qualifications, how they relate to each other and how different types of qualifications can contribute to improving the skills of the workforce.

The SCQF is also intended to help describe programmes of learning that lead to the various qualifications; support the development of routes to progress from qualification to qualification; and maximise the opportunities to transfer credit points between qualifications. It will do this by making the overall system of qualifications and relevant programmes of learning easier to understand and providing a national vocabulary for describing learning opportunities.

The SCQF will also assist in making clear the relationships between Scottish qualifications and those in the rest of the UK, Europe and beyond, thereby clarifying opportunities for international progression routes and credit transfer.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority provide details of all their individual Scottish qualifications.

The SCQF helps to make the relationships between qualifications clearer. It can clarify entry and exit points and routes for progression within and across education and training sectors. It also helps maximise the opportunities for credit transfer. In these ways it will assist learners to plan their progress and learning.

Qualifications in the SCQF are compared using two measures: level and credit. The level of a qualification shows how difficult the learning is. The credit points show the size of the qualification and how much work is involved in achieving that qualification. For example, one person may study a course at Intermediate 1, SCQF level 4 and another at Higher, SCQF level 6. Both award the same number of SCQF credit points but at different levels of difficulty.

SVQs are currently notionally placed on the SCQF. Projects to refine the position of individual SVQs are underway. The report of the first phase was issued in August 2006 and subsequent phases are expected to report in 2007 and 2008. Any recommendations require agreement and approval of the Accreditation Committee.

Following the review of SQA qualifications, new and revised National Qualification Group Awards, ie National Certificates, National Progression Awards and revised Professional Development Awards are also placed in the SCQF.