Moving to HTML assessments

Following a recent query regarding errors in questions on a Data Citizenship SOLAR test, we have noticed that some centres are still using Flash versions of assessments on SOLAR. We are trying to move away from these and would therefore encourage you to use HTML versions of assessments where they are available. If you would like to know more, please contact the SOLAR team.

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National Units in Data Skills

It’s been a while since I updated you about this development. At that time, I told you about our plans to develop three new National Units: Data Skills (SCQF Level 3) Data Skills (SCQF Level 4) Data Skills (SCQF Level 5). We commenced development on these units in July. However, when we shared draft versions of the unit outlines, we got mixed feedback from people. As a result of that feedback, I consulted about the contents of the units with…

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Next Gen update

I’m pleased to tell you that we received a number of applications to pilot HNC Computing from August 2022. Regular readers will know that we didn’t get volunteers the first time of asking, so I was delighted to get several this time. As a result, two colleges (New College Lanarkshire and North East Scotland College) will deliver the new HNC from August 2022. The pilot will be evaluated in Spring 2023. No-one came forward to offer HND Data Science but…

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External Verifier meeting

The External Verifier (EV) team for Computing met on Saturday morning for their annual standardisation meeting. The meeting took place on Teams. The purpose of this meeting is to ensure that all EVs understand, and apply, the same standards when they visit centres. So, the Senior External Verifier (SEV) went over last year’s verification activity and the team discussed approaches to verification for the current session. I usually do a qualification update at the event, and this year I explained…

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Team changes

I’m pleased to let you know that Helen has been promoted to a role within the Next Gen HN project. It’s an internal secondment, lasting until mid-2023. Helen has been working as part of the Computing team since 2014. I’ve began the process of replacing Helen, who will take up her new position from 1 November. In the meantime, nothing will change. But, from 1 November, Megan will cover for Helen until a replacement is in post. I’m hoping that…

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Assessments for NPA Cyber Security and NPA Data Science

I received feedback on the quality of the assessments for NPA Cyber Security and NPA Data Science late last session, so the team undertook a review of the assessments to see what could be improved. We hired a couple of teachers to lead this work. The outcome of that is that we will not review the assessment for Cyber Security but we will review the assessments for Data Science. NPA Cyber Security was introduced in 2015 and will be reviewed…

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CyberFirst Girls Competition

We need technology now more than ever – and it needs to be safe, secure and suitable for everyone to use. Which means identifying and nurturing talented young students to protect us from online threats. It’s why we’ve created the CyberFirst Girls Competition, designed to show more girls aged 12 and 13 what a career in cyber security looks like, why it matters and where it could take them. Through our four cyber security characters; Captain, Logic, Chatter and Vision;…

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Sector Panel meeting

The Sector Panel for Computing met recently for it’s annual face-to-face (now online) meeting. The Sector Panel provides strategic advice to me and my team about external developments to ensure that our qualifications are relevant and up-to-date. This year’s agenda included: Next Generation of Higher National Qualifications changes to workplace qualifications (SVQ/CBQ/Diploma) gender in Computing. There was a lot of discussion around gender, given the well-known under-representation of women in field of digital technology. Ketty Lawrence, of Skills Development Scotland,…

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Centre request process

The team have discussed the centre request process and have decided that we are happy with the  current process. Please see the previous blog post as a reminder on how to submit a request. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

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Quality Network Week

At SQA, we’re committed to supporting centre development. We’re hosting a Quality Network Week kicking off on October 4th. The virtual event will consist of subject specific and general session, so there’s something for everyone. Find out more here.  

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QDT meeting for Next Generation Higher Nationals

The Qualification Development Team (QDT) for Computing met last week (Thursday) to discuss progress and update members about changes. It was well attended with 22 members logging into the Teams meeting. I informed members about the changes made since we last met. These are: removal of “legacy” (current) units from qualifications removal of PDAs from the awards revision of the grading model. The updated frameworks for HNC Computing and HND Data Science can be found here. I also discussed the…

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Vocational diploma extensions

As mentioned in a previous post, we were seeking extensions to the below diplomas. I am pleased to confirm that the extension request for these has now been approved. Please see the new lapse dates for the diplomas below: Diploma in Digital Application Support at SCQF Level 5 (GL2J 45) – 31/12/2023 (previously 30/09/2021) Diploma in Digital Application Support at SCQF Level 6 (GL2K 46) – 31/12/2023 (previously 30/09/2021) Diploma for Information Technology and Telecommunications Professionals at SCQF Level 5 (GL2L 45)…

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NPA Computer Networks – Update

As advised in a previous post, assessments for the three component units of the revised NPA Computer Networks at SCQF level 5 award, along with a combined assessment were in production, and were due to be available in Spring 2021. Unfortunately these have been slightly delayed, however the knowledge assessments will be available in the first week of September and the practical assessments will be available by mid September. Should you have any queries or wish any updates on these assessments,…

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Next Generation Higher National update

Regular readers will know that SQA has been working on the next generation of Higher National Qualifications in three subject areas – Computing, Engineering and TV. My team has spent the last 18 months developing two “next gen” qualifications in Computing — HNC Computing and HND Data Science. We had hoped to pilot these prototype qualifications this month (August) but the exceptional circumstances in colleges last year prevented that. We’re hoping that things are better this year and there are…

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Vocational diploma update

SQA offers a range of diplomas as part of the Apprenticeship programme, ran by Skills Development Scotland (SDS). The qualifications are: Diploma in Digital Application Support (SCQF Levels 5, 6) Diploma in IT & Telecom Professionals (SCQF Levels 5, 6, 8) Diploma in Information Security Professionals (SCQF Levels 6, 8) Diploma in Data Analytics (SCQF Level 8). Work is on-going by SDS and SQA to redevelop the qualification frameworks. We’re currently working on a new diploma at SCQF Level 8…

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SQA committees

Three committees assist me and my team to carry out our work. These are: Sector Panel, Qualification Support Team and Lead Person Network. These are permanent, standing committees. We also form ad-hoc committees, such as Qualification Development Teams, when the need arises. The Sector Panel provides strategic advice about external developments to ensure that qualifications remain current and relevant. Membership includes employers, universities, colleges, schools, training providers, representatives of national organisations and educational experts. A vital role for the Panel is…

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PDA Data Science additional assessments

We are looking for volunteers to write and vet new SOLAR assessments for the following units within the PDA Data Science: It is paid work. If you are interested or have any queries, please get in touch with me. 

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Review of assessments for NPA Cyber Security and NPA Data Science

A number of teachers recently contacted the team about the assessments for NPA Cyber Security and NPA Data Science. Although most of the queries related to special circumstances arising from Covid, some also related to the quality of the assessments. As a result of that, we’re going to review the assessments over the Summer. Two experienced teachers will carry out this work. At this time, it’s simply a scoping exercise to check the quality of what’s there and to advise…

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Review of Digital vocational qualifications SCQF levels 3-6

Hilary’s team have recently carried out a survey to gather feedback on the changes proposed to the units and assessments under review and will be starting work on these revisions shortly. They are looking for practitioners to work with them to write, vet and provide additional support to their qualifications. If you are interested in getting involved in this review please complete and return the attached Expression of Interest form to Hilary, or get in touch with her if you…

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Data Skills

I’m pleased to let you know that we’re about to commence the development of three new National Units relating to data science. The units, which will be called “Data Skills”, will be available at SCQF Levels 3, 4 and 5. These new National Units will focus on foundation data skills, covering essential knowledge and skills in statistics, data analysis and data visualisation. We hope that they will be useful to every learner. The units will be different from the National…

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