HND Cyber Security subject page

I’m pleased to let you know that the subject page for HND Cyber Security is now available. It can be accessed here. The subject page contains important information about the qualification’s structure and assessment. It also provides a link to the Group Award Specification (direct link), which is an essential document for centres. HND Cyber Security was a large development, which involved creating 15 new (or revised) units. The publication of the subject page concludes the development. It took longer than…

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PDA Cyber Security

I’m pleased to let you know that this development has now commenced. This is the final phase of the three part development plan that has already produced HNC Cyber Security and, recently, HND Cyber Security. This development will be managed by Hilary and the lead officer is Helen. It’s very early days in the project but we’re hoping the have the development complete by early 2020 so that centres can offer it from Spring 2020. The target audience is professional…

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NPA Data Science subject page is now live

The subject page for NPA Data Science is now available. You can access it here. The subject page contains vital information about a qualification including information about its structure and assessment. It also contains a link to the Group Award Specification (GAS), which is the definitive description of the qualification. You can directly download the GAS here. The qualification FAQ is also available. You can download it here: Qualification FAQ (NPA Data Science) The FAQ answers common questions such as:…

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Retiring qualifications

SQA regularly reviews the portfolio of qualifications to remove qualifications that are no longer current. We’re very careful about this. Once a qualification has low (or no) uptake for several years, a Business Development Manager will consult with stakeholders to ensure that removing it is OK before it comes to me to make a final decision. A number of qualifications have been recommended for withdrawal including: NPA Internet Technology PDA Web Development PDA Database Programming Diploma in Digital Application Support.…

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Data science units are now published

The units within the recently validated NPA Data Science have now been published on the SQA website. In total, we developed 12 new units as part of this development. Here is a list of the new units, along with links to each specification. Data Science (Level 4) Data Science (Level 5) Data Science (Level 6) Data Citizenship (Level 4) Data Citizenship (Level 5) Data Citizenship (Level 6) Machine Learning (Level 5) Machine Learning (Level 6) Data Science: Statistics (Level 5)…

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Updated portfolio diagram

The Summer is a good time for the team to catch up with things, and one of the things I always do is update the portfolio diagram, which shows all of the vocational qualifications that me and my team are responsible for. You can download the portfolio via this link. It’s worth downloading and printing the diagram so that you can see what’s coming, what’s going and what’s just arrived. We have a few new arrivals. HND Cyber Security has…

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NPA Cyber Security enhanced materials

It’s been a while since I updated you about this project. The project commenced last October, when I announced that, thanks to Scottish Government funding, we were about to develop additional support materials for NPA Cyber Security. The enhancement project, as it is called, aimed to provide the following additional support to centres. Improved Learner’s Notes. Improved Educator’s Guide. Republished materials in book format. Improve the SOLAR item bank. Create alternative assessments based on portfolio production. Provide CPD events for…

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NPA Data Science is now validated

I’m pleased to let you know that the conditions placed on this qualification at the recent validation event have now been lifted. It took a bit longer than planned but we’re there now. The qualification is available at SCQF Level 4 (National 4), Level 5 (National 5) and Level 6 (Higher). We will now “operationalise” the qualification, which is SQA-speak for coding it, publishing the units and creating a subject page. Once we’ve done that you will be able to…

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SQA Academy Internet Safety course

It has been flagged up by several users that our Internet Safety course on SQA Academy is a bit out of date. This was developed in 2016 and we are now looking to update it.  General feedback is that some links to news items, resources, etc could do with being replaced by    material that is a bit more generic and futureproof. If you are interested in reviewing and updating the Internet Safety course please get in touch with Hilary Weir. …

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HN Computing review

It’s been a while since I posted an update on the review of the suite of HN Computing awards. I’ve had a few queries recently asking what’s happening. The good news is that Computing is now in the first phase of “HN Next Generation” developments — it was originally planned to be in the second phase. This is a good thing — to review the awards using the old design rules, only to revise them again, at a later date,…

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Help us help you

The Qualification Support Team (QST) for Computing is responsible for maintaining qualifications by recommending changes to awards or suggesting support materials that could be produced to help centres deliver qualifications. The QST meets once per year, normally in the Spring to give us time to implement changes to qualifications. This year’s meeting took place at the end of April. The QST is made up of practising teachers and lecturers — chalk-face practitioners who know the issues facing centres. We’re looking…

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Entension of CBQ’s

The end accreditation date (lapsing date) for the following qualifications has been extended for a further two years until 31 July 2021. This is to allow time for the qualifications to be updated: GJ75 46 Diploma for Information Security Professionals at SCQF levels 6 Start date: 09/07/2014 Lapsing Date: 31/07/2021 Finish date: 31/07/2025 GJ74 48 Diploma for Information Security Professionals at SCQF levels 8 Start date: 09/07/2014 Lapsing Date: 31/07/2021 Finish date: 31/07/2025 If you require any further information please…

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SOLAR assessment for Computing qualifications

The SOLAR team at SQA have developed a range of formative and summative assessments for Computing (vocational) qualifications at different levels (Levels 4 – 9). The formative assessments can be accessed via OpenAssess on the SOLAR website. To gain access to the summative assessments, centres should use the link and complete the on-screen pro-forma. The full list of currently available and upcoming summative assessments can be found here, including HNC/D Computing, NPA/HNC Cyber Security and NPA Data Science. If you…

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External Verifiers wanted

External Verifiers (EVs) are responsible for ensuring that national standards are applied across all centres in Scotland (and internationally). It’s a really interesting, part-time job, which involves EVs visiting schools, colleges and training centres. We’re currently looking for people to join the Computing team of EVs. You can find out more, and apply, here. I try to mix the team in terms of backgrounds, specialisms, gender, etc. I’d welcome applications from anyone but particularly people with experience of schools, training…

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Proposed changes to qualifications

Qualifications are formally reviewed every few years but, between reviews, we maintain qualifications by making small changes. The types of maintenance we carry out includes: adding units to qualifications revising/updating units writing new units and adding these to existing qualifications revising assessments creating new assessments. For example, in 2017 we devised a new unit in artificial intelligence that we added to HND Computer Science. A couple of years ago, we changed the way that we deal with proposed changes to…

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NPA Data Science validation event

The validation event for NPA Data Science took place yesterday. I’m pleased to let you know that it went well. The purpose of validation is to permit an independent group of experts to scrutinise a proposed qualification. Yesterday’s panel included representatives of universities (St Andrew’s), colleges (North Lanarkshire), schools (Dumfries & Galloway Council), national organisations (DataLab) and employers (Skills Development Scotland). The development team and panel had positive discussions about the qualification. The panel was enthusiastic about the qualification, and…

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Digital Skills Partnership’s CPD event on HND in Cyber Security

The Digital Skills Partnership is running a CPD event to support lecturers with the delivery of the new HND in Cyber Security, on Wednesday 22nd May from 13:00 – 17:00 at the City of Glasgow College, 190 Cathedral St, Glasgow G4 0RF. This event will cover: • A presentation on Scripting for Security, presented by Sean McIvor, Incident Responder from Morgan Stanley. Sean will talk about the types of devices used in security scripting; scripting languages used and the ways…

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HND Cyber Security validation event

The validation of HND Cyber Security took place on Friday. I’m pleased to let you know that it went well. It was the same panel that validated the HNC (with the addition of a university representative) to ensure continuity from HNC to HND. The Qualification Development Team was represented by the Lead Developer (Joe Harkins of West College Scotland) along with me and Caitlin. The panel was fair and thorough. The outcome was that we have to address three conditions…

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NPA Data Science validation

The validation event for the new NPA in Data Science takes place on Thursday, 16 May. The qualification is the first of its kind. It’s an exciting prospect to teach data science and Machine Learning as part of the school curriculum. The purpose of a validation event is for a group of independent experts (the validation panel) to scrutinise the proposed qualification. The panel considers the aims of the award, its structure and how it’s assessed (among other things). The…

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Qualification Support Team meeting

The Qualification Support Team (QST) for Computing met yesterday in Glasgow. There was a very good turnout of members. The purpose of the QST, as the name suggests, is to support the current portfolio of qualifications. An important role for members is to consider proposed changes to qualifications, which are suggested by centres. But it also considers, and recommends, new support materials for qualifications, and monitors uptake and quality issues. The members are drawn from schools, colleges and training centres,…

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