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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Extension to CBQs update

As advised in a previous post, due to the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, SQA Accreditation offered to provide a 6-month extension to all qualifications that had a lapsing date of up to 31st March 2021. This offer has now been extended to all qualifications with a lapsing date of up to 30/09/2021. Therefore, the following CBQs will be extended for another six months. Please see updated dates below: Code: GJ75 46Title: Diploma for Information Security Professionals at SCQF…

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Writing next generation Higher National units

Since my last update about the next generation of Higher National Qualifications (HN-NG), we’ve moved onto writing the component units within HNC Computing and HND Data Science. Writers and vetters have been recruited for all of the new units in these qualifications and we’re carrying out training this week (yesterday, today and tomorrow). One of the important changes that HN-NG will introduce is the way that units are described. Firstly, NG units will be larger than current types — typically…

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Groupspaces is closing

I’ve been notified that Groupspaces is closing on 2 April. That’s disappointing news since we’ve been using the (free) service as a mailing list for a number of years. Members of various committees (such as the Sector Panel and Qualification Support Team) and various project teams (such as HN Next Gen) have been using it to communicate and collaborate. We’ve used a number of these services over the years, starting with E-Groups (around 20 years) ago and including services such…

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Team changes

I’m pleased to let you know that Emma has been promoted within SQA. Emma has been my Qualifications Officer (QO) since March 2016 and is becoming a Qualifications Co-ordinator in a different team from Monday (1 March). It’s an internal secondment, lasting 18 months, and I’m actively looking for an internal replacement. The interviews will take place next week and I hope to have a new person within the next few weeks. In the meantime, there will be some reshuffling…

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NPA Cyber – Alternative assessments now live

Those of you who have been following this development will be aware that the alternative assessments for NPA Cyber Security have been in production for some time now. This project was significantly delayed due to a number of setbacks. Firstly, the original alternative assessments produced were not deemed fit for purpose after undergoing quality assurance procedures. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and other priorities took over. However, this project was resumed after summer and I am pleased to advise that…

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Cyber Scotland Week 2021

On 22 February, Cyber Scotland Week will kick off with a range of events celebrating cyber security  and cyber resilience. Throughout the 22-28 February, online events will be running with the aim of raising awareness of good practice, promoting skills development and a career in cyber security. All of the events are designed to make businesses, organisations and individuals more cyber aware and resilient. As always, SQA will be supporting this celebration of cyber security with posts and promotional information…

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Qualification Development Team meeting for HN-Next Gen

I’ve been meaning to post an update about the recent Qualification Development Team (QDT) meeting for HN-NG awards in Computing, which took place on 29 January. The attendance (16 people) was exceptional given that it was held late Friday afternoon. Regular readers will know that we’re developing two qualifications as part of the first phase of HN-NG. HNC Computing HND Data Science. The meeting focussed on grading. Grading is one (of the many) changes that HN-NG will introduce. The proposal…

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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…

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Learner and teacher guides for NPA Data Science

I’m pleased to let you know that additional support materials for NPA Data Science are now available. The Educator’s Guide provides advice and guidance to teachers who are about to, or already, offer the qualification. It contains useful information about course contents, delivery, resources and assessment. The Learner’s Guide is for pupils and students, and covers the contents of each of the three levels. The one guide covers all three levels but each level is clearly sign-posted within the guide.…

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HN Next Gen Computing – unit writers/vetters needed

We have made good progress in the two new Higher National qualifications – HNC Computing and HND Data Science as part of the HN Next Generation. We are looking for unit writers and vetters for a number of new/revised units. If you are interested, please complete the Microsoft Form by Sunday 31/01/21. A new (simplified) unit specification template will be used and a virtual unit writing training will be provided by SQA. If you have any query, please feel free…

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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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