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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CyberFirst Advanced Virtual Course

We have been contacted a representative from Scot Gov and have been asked to share the following post regarding one of CyberFirst’s summer courses. Know a S6 girl with the potential to be a digital hero? The last few places on the free CyberFirst Advanced Virtual Course are available for Scotland-based S6 girls. Students need an interest and aptitude for computers, but don’t need to be studying computer science or have previously been on a CyberFirst course. Inspired and led…

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Next Generation Higher Nationals – Phase 2

Regular readers will know that we’re in the process of modernising Higher National Qualifications (HNQs). This is being done in two phases. Phase 1 commenced last year and is nearing completion. Two Computing qualifications were involved in this phase: HNC Computing and HND Data Science. We’re currently finalising the component units for these awards. The second phase of developments is about to commence. Three additional Computing qualifications will be developed: HND Computer Science HND Networking & Infrastructure HND Software Development.…

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NPA Data Science – alternative practical assessments

We have recently developed alternative assessments for Outcome 3 in Data Citizenship units at SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6 and also combined assessment for Outcome 3 in Data Citizenship and Data Science L4 units. Please see the table below for more details. Those alternative assessments will not replace the ones currently available on SOLAR. Please get in touch with us if you have any query.

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Review of Digital vocational qualifications SCQF levels 3-6

As you may know from a previous blog post, Hilary’s team are currently reviewing the following awards and units in their digital portfolio: NPA Digital Literacy (SCQF level 3) NPA Digital Passport (SCQF levels 4-6) NPA Social Software (SCQF level 4) NUs Computer Basics (SCQF levels 3-4) Following consultation with a focus group including teachers, lecturers and training providers several recommendations have been proposed. You can help to ensure these proposals are the right steps to take by completing and…

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Qualification Support Team

The Qualification Support Team (QST) met last Wednesday for its annual meeting. The QST is responsible for supporting existing qualifications. Members are drawn from practicing teachers, lecturers and trainers. There are a number of standing items at every meeting such as a qualification update from me and my team and a report from the Senior External Verifier. An important role for the committee is to recommend support materials for qualifications, and we provided an update on recently developed materials such…

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QDT meeting for HN-Next Gen

The Qualification Development Team (QDT), responsible for developing new Computing qualifications as part of SQA’s Next Generation of Higher National Qualifications, met on Wednesday. Sixteen members attended, representing colleges, schools, universities, employers and national organisations. We’re developing two qualifications as part of the first phase of the project: HNC Computing HND Data Science. The purpose of the meeting was to update members on progress and also to consider our approach to grading these new qualifications. The most important piece of…

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NPA Computer Games Development – Old course ending

NPA Computer Games Development was introduced in 2010 and is one of our most popular NPAs. I am writing this post to let you know that the original courses (G9RP 44, G9RR 45 & G9RT 46) will be finishing this summer, after already being extended an additional year because of the Corona Virus pandemic. These have been replaced with the new NPA courses (GP02 44, GP03 45 & GP04 46) which started in 2017. These will now be the only…

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Vocational Computing qualifications

I’ve recently updated the portfolio diagram, which shows all of the vocational Computing qualifications available to centres. A Word version of the diagram can be downloaded here: Computing Vocational Awards (April 2021). Please note that digital qualifications are now managed by the digital team in SQA. This team is responsible for qualifications listed in this post. Please contact the appropriate officer if you have queries about any of these qualifications.

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SQA Computing network on Yammer

The team has used mailing lists for communications and support for a number of years but with the demise of GroupSpaces we’ve moved this to Yammer. We’re sorry to see the end of the mailing lists but at least this change centralises everything in one place (previously some support was offered on Yammer). There is a Computing network on Yammer with dedicated groups for specific committees and qualifications. For example, there’s a group for NPA Cyber Security and another for…

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Hello

Hello, I’m Megan Sharkey and I have recently joined the Computing Team to cover Emma’s post while she’s currently working as a Qualifications Coordinator as mentioned in Bobby’s previous post. I have previously worked in SQA in administrative posts so whilst I’m not new to SQA, I’ll be familiarising myself with my responsibilities over the next few weeks, and I would very much appreciate your patience. Working alongside Bobby and Helen, my responsibilities will be: National Certificates National Progression Awards…

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Team changes

I’m pleased to let you know that Megan Sharkey will be joining the team next week as one of my Qualifications Officers (QOs). Megan replaces Emma, who is now working as a Qualification Co-ordinator in a different team. Megan has worked for SQA for a number of years in administrative positions so this is her first experience of qualification development. She will take over most of Emma’s responsibilities, focussing on non-advanced qualifications. The following diagram illustrates the division of work…

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Lead Person Network

The Lead Person Network (LPN) met yesterday afternoon. The LPN, as the name suggests, is a network of people representing every college in Scotland. We use it to communicate with colleges and get feedback from practitioners. Every college has a designated lead person. The LPN is one of three SQA committees that help me and my team carry out our duties. The Sector Panel provides strategic advice about the IT sector and consists of representatives of industry, business, universities, colleges, schools…

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Review of Digital vocational qualifications SCQF levels 3-6

The past year has been a very challenging one for us all however, there is no doubt that it is more important than ever that learners have opportunities to gain digital skills. Several units and awards in the digital portfolio are now due for review and are listed below. Please use the following links to access Group Award and Unit specifications for more information. • NPA Digital Literacy (SCQF level 3)   o SCQF level 3 Group Award code: GL06…

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Pilot centres for HN-Next Gen

Regular readers will know that we’re in the process of developing two new Higher National Qualifications: HNC Computing and HND Data Science. We’re hoping to pilot these qualifications in centres next session. We’re currently looking for two centres for each qualification to test the prototypes. HNC Computing is based on the current HNC but the HND is new. “Next generation” HNs are different from current Higher National Qualifications in a number of respects including: size — HNCs and HNDs are 15…

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