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Benefits of using the Framework


Helps learners plan their learner journey.


Helps individuals understand qualifications they are not familiar with.


Helps employers understand different types of qualifications and also supports effective recruitment and workforce development.

Education & Training

Helps education and training providers of all kinds to identify the level that has been studied in a particular subject and makes it easier to transfer credit points between different learning programmes.

Learning Programmes

Provides recognition of a very wide range of learning programmes.

How does it work?

By using two measures, the level of a qualification or learning programme and the number of credit points awarded, the Framework helps you understand and compare various Scottish qualifications.

The level of qualification indicates the level of difficulty and the number of credit points indicates the length of time it takes to complete. One SCQF credit point represents an average of 10 hours of learning time.

SCQF Levels

The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework has 12 levels. The different levels indicate the level of difficulty of a particular qualification. The Level Descriptors outline the general outcomes of learning at SCQF levels under five broad headings:

- knowledge and understanding;
- practice (applied knowledge and understanding);
- generic cognitive skills (e.g. evaluation, critical analysis);
- communication, numeracy and IT skills; and
- autonomy, accountability and working with others.

The Descriptors allow broad comparisons to be made between qualifications and learning and allow learners, employers and the public in general to understand the range of skills and learning that should be achieved at each level.

SCQF Credit Points

Credit points are a way of showing how much time it takes, on average, to complete a qualification or learning programme. Along with the Level Descriptors, they allow learners, learning providers and employers to compare different qualifications at the same or even different levels.

In common with other credit systems, the SCQF works on the basis that one credit point represents the amount of learning achieved through a notional 10 hours of learning time which includes everything a learner has to do to achieve the outcomes in a qualification including the assessment procedures.

Credit Transfer

In some instances, it may be possible to transfer SCQF credit points to other learning programmes to ensure that a learner does not have to repeat any learning they have already undertaken.

Universities and colleges, SQA and other awarding bodies decide how many of the credit points already received from previous learning can be transferred into their programmes. In all cases of credit transfer, it would be the decision of the accepting learning institution as to how many credit points could be transferred.

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