Next phase of Next Gen HN

Regular readers will know that the Next Gen project is currently modernising a number of Higher National Qualifications including some in Computing. The work is being done in phases and the first phase included two Computing awards: HNC Computing and HND Data Science. This work is now almost complete. We’re about to begin the second phase, which will modernise three additional Computing qualifications. HND Computer Science HND Networking & Infrastructure HND Software Development. In time, all Higher Nationals will be…

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Diploma in Digital Technology

You might have noticed from the portfolio diagram that a new CBQ is coming, called Diploma in Digital Technology (SCQF Level 8), which will replace two existing qualifications: Diploma in Data Analytics and Diploma in Information Security Professionals. In fact, the new qualification has three pathways: (1) cyber security; (2) data analytics; and (3) software development. Each of these pathways will be separately certificated. The titles have still to be decided but will make clear the chosen specialism. The current…

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Computing qualifications

There have been a lot of changes to the vocational Computing portfolio of qualifications during the last year so I thought that this is a good time to do an update. Here is the updated diagram. You can download a (better) PDF version here. As you’ll see, a number of old qualifications (or qualifications with little or no uptake) are going. Some are being replaced (such as the Diploma in Data Analytics which will be replaced by the new Diploma…

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year to everyone! The team returned to work on Wednesday to start what should be an exciting year. My look back at 2021 covered what we did last year. This year we will be finishing off some of the developments that we started last year and commencing some new work. We’re still finalising some units from the first phase of Next Gen HN (not many – most are now validated) and there was a delay to the new…

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Hello

Hello everyone, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself… My name is Amy Blain and I joined SQA in 2017. My previous role was an Administrator in the Information Governance team within the Strategic Planning and Governance directorate. I’ve joined the Computing team as a Qualifications Officer, covering for Helen Zhang who is currently working as a Qualifications Coordinator. I am responsible for the advanced qualifications within the portfolio, such as HNs and PDAs. This will be…

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NPA Esports

I’m pleased to let you know that we’ll be developing a new suite of qualifications in esports. The qualification will be a National Progression Award (NPA), which will be developed at three levels: SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6 (National 4, National 5 and Higher). Esports is growing in popularity and I hope the new qualification captures some of the excitement around the subject. We will create a Qualification Development Team (QDT) during January and formally commence development in February.…

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Review of 2021

The big change this year has been changes in the team. Emma got a new job in February and was replaced by Megan in April. Helen was promoted in October and replaced by Amy in December. So the team going into 2022 will be me, Amy and Megan. Amy will introduce herself when she formally commences on 5 January. The year commenced and ended with the modernisation of Higher National Qualifications (“Next Gen HN”). In early January I provided an…

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Next Gen update

I posted an update about Next Gen HN last month. At that time, I wasn’t sure which (if any) additional Computing qualifications would be developed as part of this initiative. I’m pleased to let you know that all of the proposed qualifications will be developed next year. This means that the following qualifications will be modernised. HNC Computing HND Data Science HND Computer Science HND Networking & Infrastructure HND Software Development. Regular readers will know that we’re going to pilot…

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Team changes

I’d like to welcome Amy Blain to the team. Amy will replace Helen, who is now working as part of the Next Gen team. Amy currently works in the Strategic Planning & Governance team within SQA. So the new team consists of me, Megan and Amy. Megan replaced Emma (who also joined the Next Gen team). Megan will look after the non-advanced portfolio (NPAs, NCs and National Units) and SVQs, and Amy will look after the advanced portfolio (HNCs, HNDs…

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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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