English National 3, 4 & 5


National 3, 4 & 5


Advanced Higher

Most students study English at levels National 4 or 5 in S4 with some students presented at National 3 level. Students are given the opportunity to succeed at the highest possible level of study before a final decision on presentation is made in March of the school session.


National Courses in English focus on two main units which are internally assessed:

  • Analysis & Evaluation – Listening & Reading
  • Creation & Production – Writing & Talking


National 5 English also includes external assessments by the SQA in the form of a folio of written work and two examination papers which focus on reading skills.


Unit Assessments – Internally assessed


Analysis & Evaluation


Reading – Evidence for the successful completion of this component can be produced in many ways by students for assessment purposes. Most often, this will take the form of a close reading passage and written responses to questions focussing on understanding of main ideas and their ability to explain the function of language techniques. In some case, students may be able to pass the reading outcomes through evidence generated in a group discussion or one to one conversation with a classroom teacher.


Listening – Students will be exposed to a wide range of audio texts such as advertisements, radio shows, documentaries, YouTube clips and feature films. The listening assessments allow students to take notes before responding to a series of question which demonstrate their understanding and ability to put ideas into their own words. To fully achieve a pass in this unit at National 5 level, students are required to recognise and explain the success of spoken voice techniques such as tone, persuasion, repetition and imagery.


Creation & Production


Writing – Students will be given an opportunity to explore a wide range of writing styles and genres. In line with the requirements for the National 5 folio most students will produce at least two extended written texts which clearly communicate meaning. These can be redrafted and improved for the purpose of assessment. Typically, this will include a transactional text (discursive, persuasive essay, a report, a leaflet or brochure) and some creative writing which could include a short story, poem, drama script or a piece of personal reflective writing.


Talking – Skills in talking can be assessed in a variety of ways in the National courses for English. Typically, evidence will be gathered from group and paired discussion and in addition it is also likely that most students will be asked to complete some form of individual talk or presentation to meet the required assessment standard at each level.


National 4 – Added Value Unit


As there is no formal external examination at National 4 level, students who are presented at National 4 are required to complete an Added Value Unit. This final assessment task requires students to read two texts of their choice and produce a range of notes showing their understanding. To achieve a pass in this component they must present their findings as an extended essay or individual talk to their teacher for internal assessment.


NB – AVU – National 5 – Students who are at risk of potentially not passing their National 5 exam will be asked to complete the Added Value Unit in class as a precautionary measure. This means if they fail to succeed in the National 5 examination they will automatically be awarded National 4 on completion of the course.


National 5 Examinations / Assessment


Examination – Reading for Understanding, Analysis & Evaluation

  • 1 hour – 30 marks
  • Reading a non-fiction passage and answering questions to show understanding and ability to analyse and explain language.


Examination – Critical Reading

  • 1 hr 30 mins – 40 marks
  • Section 1 – Scottish Texts – 20 marks – Students will be required to answer textual analysis style questions based on texts they have previously studied in class.
  • Section 2 – Critical Essay – 20 marks – Students will be required to write one essay responding to a question which is relevant to a text they have studied in the course.


Writing Folio – Externally assessed by SQA – Submitted in March

  • 2 pieces of writing from different genres.
  • 1 piece transactional, 1 piece creative.
  • Total of 30 marks available – 15 marks for each piece.