Explaining Unit Standards and Qualifications

  • Ever wanted to know how to search unit standards or qualifications yourself?
  • Ever wanted to know how to read a unit standard?

In this short video we look at searching unit standards or qualifications directly on the website.  Not only searching for them, but also understanding the basic layout. In this clip be tackle the basics about unit standards without all the big words and acronyms.

Links used in this video clip.

SAQA Website:


Watch this video on YouTube.

See our video online here:

The formal recognition of the achievement of the required number and range of credits and other requirements at specific levels of the NQF. Determined by the relevant bodies registered by SAQA.

Registered statement of desired education and training outcomes and its associated assessment criteria together with administrative and other information as specified in the regulations.

Unit Standard ID
Each time there is a change made to a unit standard, a new version is created.  Minor changes to standards may not affect outcomes.  However, assessors should always check their assessment tasks or evidence guides, and evidence and judgement statements carefully against the new version of a standard to ensure that material reflects the requirements of the new version of the standard, as adjustments may be required.

When a version of a unit standard has been replaced, the Standard Setting Body responsible for the unit standard may specify a last date of assessment against the superseded version.  It is recommended that assessing organisations check with the Standard Setting Body to confirm the transition period available.

Purpose statements
Purpose statements express the outcomes of the unit standard in terms of the knowledge, skills, behaviours, attitudes and values the unit standard recognises.  Often, a purpose statement is a collation of the unit standard outcome statements.
The purpose statement may also say for whom the unit standard is intended.  This may or may not exclude other people from being assessed against the standard – the wording should make that clear.  For example, the purpose statement for Unit 15007 (version 5) states, “This unit standard is for people for whom English is not their first language.” 

Learning assumed to be in place
Unit standards may contain entry information.  Entry information will relate to critical prerequisites (health, safety or legislative requirements), or to recommended skills and knowledge. 
Assessors are responsible for ensuring learners have met any requirements specified in this section prior to the award of credit.

Range Statement

  • particular scope and range of contexts for the learner’s
  • performance and assessment, the kinds of methods and activities applicable and the
  • kinds of evidence to be collected, are stated

Critical Cross-Field Outcomes 
Critical Cross-Field Outcomes refer to those generic outcomes that inform all teaching and learning. For example CCFOs may include working effectively with others as a member of a team, and/or collecting, analysing, organising and critically evaluating information.

Specific Outcome
Knowledge, skills and values (demonstrated in context) which support one or more critical outcomes

Assessment Criteria
In the assessment criteria the level of complexity and quality of the learner’s performance expected in the assessment are stated.

Embedded Knowledge
Embedded knowledge is commonly referred to the knowledge that is locked in such elements as:

  • Experience
  • Internalisation

Common practice, systemic routines, organizational culture, conventions, tradition, codes of conduct, common sense ethics, etc
History, rules, laws, principles, etc.

Contextual issues related to ethical, legislative and policy-related considerations processes, products, artifacts, structures, rules.

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