The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) (Gaelic: Ùghdarras Theisteanas na h-Alba) is the executive non-departmental public body of the Scottish Government responsible for accreditation and educational awards. It was established in September 2006, and took over the functions of the Scottish Examinations Board and the Scottish Vocational Education Council in April 2007
It is partly funded by the Education and Lifelong Learning Directorate of the Scottish Government, employing 750 staff, based in Glasgow and Dalkeith. Students for National Qualifications receive their results on, generally, the first Tuesday in August. Students signed up for the authority's MySQA system are able to check their record online throughout the year and get their exam results by text and/or email on the day that the results are issued. Those signed up to the service in 2010 received their results one day earlier than the official postal results. This also occurred in 2011, however only due to a mistake by the company holding the results. In 2012 the SQA itself sent the results out on the right day, but Robert Gordon University's business school leaked whether students had been let in, and a technical error with St Andrew's University's website leaked the results of applicants.
SQA is one of the four partner national organisations involved in the Curriculum for Excellence. It works with partners on all strands of the development. Its principal role is to contribute to work on qualifications and assessment. SQA’s role in Curriculum for Excellence is to design and develop the new qualifications and assessment.
SQA is perhaps best known for the delivery of the annual diet of public examinations within Scotland; each year the Authority organises public examinations in a wide range of subjects, at various levels, for school pupils and college students. However, a greater number of candidates of all ages participates in SQA specialist, vocational and higher education qualifications.
SQA Higher examinations are the general acceptable level for entry to University. Scottish universities usually request a minimum of 3 Highers, all above C level.
The SQA's functions and responsibilities are laid out in the Education (Scotland) Act 1996 as amended by the Scottish Qualifications Act 2002.
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