HN Next Gen update

My welcome back post emphasised the importance of HN Next Gen (HN-NG) this coming year, when we will develop two “next generation” Higher National qualifications: HNC Computing and HND Data Science. I was particularly pleased that I was permitted to include HND Data Science since it is the only HND included in the first phase of developments. The other HNDs in the “family” (HND Computer Science, HND Networking & Infrastructure and HND Software Development) will not proceed at this time…

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Welcome back

Me and the team would like to wish you a Happy New Year.  It goes without saying that we hope 2021 is better than 2020. I posted a review of 2020 at the end of last year. The highlights were the development of two new Professional Development Awards – one relating to cyber security and one relating to data science. We’re expecting 2021 to be busy. Computing is part of the “HN Next Gen” project, which aims to create new…

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Review of 2020

Twenty twenty has been quite a year, one none of us will forget. Me and the team have been working from home since March, which is likely to continue for the foreseeable future. Given the nature of our work, we adapted pretty quickly and, in terms of productivity, had a normal year. We commenced the year with the annual Computing Conference, which took place in February. One hundred and sixty people attended and, from the feedback, it was a great…

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CBQs – Further extension

Due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, SQA Accreditation has offered to provide a 6-month extension to all qualifications that had a lapsing date of up to 31st March 2021. Therefore, the following CBQs will be extended for another six months. Please see updated dates below: Code: GL2J 45  Title: Diploma in Digital Application Support at SCQF Level 5 End Accreditation Date (lapsing date): 30/09/2021 End Certification Date (finish date): 30/09/2024 Code: GL2K 46 Title: Diploma in Digital Application Support…

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NPA Computer Networks – Subject page live

As advised in a previous post, the revised NPA Computer Networks at SCQF level 5 was in the final stage of operationalisation. I am pleased to advise that the subject page for this award is now live. You will find all relevant information regarding this award on the subject page, such as the Group Award code (GR7X 45) and a link to the Group Award Specification. The qualification structure has remained the same in the revised NPA Computer Networks. You…

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HND Data Science

Further to my last update, I’m pleased to let you know that we will accelerate the development of HND Data Science so that it’s included in the first phase of HN-Next Gen. This means that two Computing qualifications will be available from August 2021. HNC Computing HND Data Science. The other HNDs (Computer Science, Networking & Infrastructure, and Software Development) will be developed in phase 2, for availability in August 2022. These new qualifications will be different from existing Higher…

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HN Next Generation update

It’s been a while since I last updated you about the “HN-Next Gen” initiative so this seems a good time to do so. Computing is one of three subjects (along with Broadcasting & TV and Engineering) that will prototype new Higher National qualifications during the next couple of years. This will be done in two phases. Phase 1: HNC qualifications, piloted during session 2021/22. Phase 2: HND qualifications, piloted during session 2022/23. Five Computing qualifications are involved in the development.…

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Can you help?

Me and my team are helped by four important committees, without which we couldn’t do our job. These are: Sector Panel: The Sector Panel provides strategic guidance about business, industrial, technological and educational trends to ensure that Computing qualifications are relevant, appropriate and up-to-date. Members include representatives of industry, universities, colleges, schools, training centres and national agencies. Qualification Support Team: The QST helps us maintain qualifications by advising how existing qualifications can be kept up to date and supported in…

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NPA Computer Networks – Update

This development has progressed well and is nearing completion. The revised Group Award has now been validated and the final steps for operationalising the award are now underway. The subject page for this award, which will include a link to the Group Award Specification, should be on the SQA website in the next few weeks. As advised in a previous post, the three component units of this award were being revised. This work is now complete and there are links…

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NPA Cyber Alternative assessments – Update

Some time ago, we advised in a blog post that we would be producing alternative assessments for the NPA Cyber Security. The aim of these assessments was to provide centres with a portfolio approach assessment. The work was well underway when COVID-19 drove the country into lockdown, so some projects had to be put on the back burner. Unfortunately, this was one of them. Furthermore, upon reviewing these assessments, issues were identified that impeded their publication and caused a further…

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Update on assessment arrangements for session 2020/21

Since I last wrote about new arrangements for assessment for the current session, further information has been provided to centres. We recently informed centres that the requirement for a Graded Unit within Higher National qualifications has been removed this year. Centres were informed about alternative approaches, although can continue to use Graded Units if circumstances permit. Please note that some subjects are required to complete a Graded Unit as normal, but Computing is not one of them. In August, we…

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The team has been using FAQs for new (or revised) qualifications since 2015. The idea behind them is to pre-empt the sorts of questions that you want answered about qualifications, such as: “Is my centre approved to offer it?”, “Can I teach it?” and “Where can I find the Unit specifications?”. They appear to be popular with teachers and lecturers so we will continue to write (and update) FAQs whenever a qualification is revised or a new one is created.…

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PDA Data Science – subject page now live

Regular followers of the blog will be aware that the PDA Data Science units have been available for some weeks. I am pleased to advise that the final steps for operationalising the award have now been completed, namely the coding of the group awards, and the subject page. The Group Award codes are: PDA Data Science at SQCF level 7 – GR68 47 PDA Data Science at SCQF level 8 – GR67 48 PDA Data Science at SCQF level 9…

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Sector Panel meeting

The Sector Panel for Computing met last week (via Teams). There was an excellent attendance. The purpose of the Panel is to provide advice and guidance to me and my team to ensure that we’re not missing external trends and ensuring that the qualification portfolio is up-to-date. It comprises representatives of business, industry, colleges, schools, universities, training centres, local authorities and national bodies, as well as educational experts. Last week’s meeting was a little different because I invited DataLab and…

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Ada Scotland Festival – starting 13 October

The Ada Scotland Festival is a series of online events focused on addressing gender imbalance in Computing Science education in Scotland. The University of Glasgow’s Dr Matthew Barr leads on the initiative, alongside Festival co-founders Dr Ella Taylor-Smith (Edinburgh Napier University) and Toni Scullion (dressCode) and a voluntary advisory board, drawn from across the sector. The Ada Scotland Festival brings together organisations who are keen to bring more women and girls into computing and IT. It is: •  a celebration, aligned to Ada…

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HND Data Science

Regular readers will know that we’re currently developing a suite of Higher National (HN) awards as part of “HN Next Gen”. One of that suite is HND Data Science. Unlike the other qualifications in this development, HND Data Science is a new qualification (the others are existing qualifications that we’re updating). We had planned to develop an HND in Data Science some time ago, but it made sense to make it one of the first new types of HN qualifications.…

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Why data science qualifications?

I was recently asked by someone why SQA developed data science qualifications. The person was planning a webinar (with an international audience) and wanted to “set the Scottish educational context” by explaining “the rationale for data science qualifications”. She had searched this blog for an answer — but without success. I promised that I would rectify that. We developed NPA Data Science in 2018/19. At the time, it was the first school-based national qualification in data science in the world…

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PDA Data Science units published

Further to the recent post regarding the validation of the PDA Data Science, I am happy to advise that all of the new units developed for this award have now been published on the SQA website. Please see below for the full list of units, with links to the unit specifications. The units can also be found through the Unit Search facility on the website. J4Y5 34 Communicating with Data J4Y7 35 Communicating with Data J4YC 36 Data Engineering J4Y9…

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Guidance for centres for session 2020/21

SQA recently published guidance for session 2020/21 relating to the assessment of vocational qualifications during the current pandemic. That page includes a link to general guidance for centres. The guidance provides detailed information for teachers, lecturers and trainers about how best to carry out assessment during the current conditions. Some subjects, because of their very practical nature, will be providing additional guidance relating to specific units that can’t follow this general advice. Subjects such as Construction, Dance and Sport present…

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PDA Data Science is validated

I’m pleased to let you know that the Professional Development Award in Data Science at SCQF Levels 7, 8 and 9 is now validated. The validation event in June placed some conditions on the proposed awards and we’ve been working on those conditions over the summer. The convener of the panel has now lifted the conditions. It’s taken us longer than normal to do this. We hoped to have the award available to centres by 1 September but it’s going…

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