Advice about vocational qualifications

SQA recently published advice about the recommended approach to assessment for vocational qualifications. Vocational qualifications include National Progression Awards such as NPA Cyber Security. Please note that the decision tree is interactive and will expand as you respond to the questions.

Although there’s no new information, the page provides a single source of advice about the assessment of vocational qualifications. You should find the decision tree helpful. At this time, the advice remains the same: try to carry out assessment as normal but, if you can’t, consider alternative approaches. We’ve received a number of requests for adaptations, all of which have been accepted. An adaptation is an alteration to assessment (or the conditions of assessment) to take account of the current conditions for learners. SQA has already gave permission to change closed-book assessment to open-book. The usual prior-verification service is available if you wish to revise assessments or devise new ones and, of course, centres can devise assessments without prior verification, so long as your internal verification system is used.

The main problem in this subject area is practical assessment, which can be difficult to do remotely. Two qualifications appear to be causing particular problems. These are NPA Cyber Security and NPA Computer Games Development. We’re aware of these problems and actively looking at potential solutions. In the meantime, we’ve been suggesting that you focus on theory, leaving the practical components until conditions improve or new guidance is published. But rest assured that we are aware of these (and other) issues.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if there’s anything we can do to help.