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It has been flagged up by several users that our Internet Safety course on SQA Academy is a bit out of date.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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NPA Data Science – Consultation

As many of you will be aware, we are at the final stage of developing the NPA Data Science, which will be available for delivery from August 2019. As part of the development process, SQA seeks feedback on qualifications as they are being developed. Therefore, before we take the award to validation on 16 May, we would greatly appreciate your views on the qualification so far. The link below will take you directly to the questionnaire, where you will be…

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CBQ’s update

We are hoping to extend the lapsing date for the following qualifications for a further two years.  Details will follow in due course. GJ75 46 Diploma for Information Security Professionals at SCQF levels 6 GJ74 48 Diploma for Information Security Professionals at SCQF levels 8

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College Cyber Security Conference

The College Development Network held its first annual Cyber Security Conference yesterday, as part of Cyber Security Week. The Conference was opened by Kate Forbes, Minister for Public Finance & Digital Economy. It was gratifying to hear Kate make reference to the range of qualifications in cyber security available to learners in Scottish colleges and schools. She made explicit mention of the NPA and HNC awards, currently available to centres, and the forthcoming HND. I was invited to deliver a…

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HND Cyber Security – consultation

As many of you will be aware, we are at the final stage of developing the HND Cyber Security, which will be available for delivery from August 2019. More information about this development can be found in our blog post here. As part of the development process, SQA seeks feedback on qualifications as they are being developed. Therefore, before we take the award to validation in May, we would greatly appreciate your views on the qualification so far. The link…

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HND Cyber Security update

Following on from the creation of HNC Cyber Security last year, we’ve been working on the HND, which was announced last July. The development is nearing its completion. The qualification structure has been agreed for some time and we’ve been busy writing the component units for the last few months. Most of these are finished now and you will start to see published versions of the units appear on the website in the next few weeks. The validation event for…

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Digital Skills Partnership CPD Events in May 2019

The Digital Skills Partnership will be running events in May with a specific focus on cloud architecture and cloud services. These events are primarily aimed at early stage lecturers who want to make sure they have a working knowledge of how industry is deploying cloud. The DSP will also be running an event to support lecturers with the introduction of the HND in Cyber Security. Details of this event will be released in week commencing 8 April. More information about…

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