Qualification portfolio update

I’ve updated the portfolio diagram with a couple of recent changes, the main one being the development of PDA Data Science, which I recently announced. You can download the diagram here. I know that many schools and colleges plan their curriculums around this time of the year, so I’d like to highlight some things that might interest you. NPA Cyber Security is a few years old but it’s growing exponentially (particularly in schools). So, if you don’t already deliver this…

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NPA Cyber Security support materials update

It’s been a while since I last updated you on the new materials to support NPA Cyber Security. Firstly, my apologies for the delay. I hoped to have them ready for the new term. The delay has been caused by a number of factors. The good news is that the materials are complete and ready to publish. The enhanced materials not only look (a lot) better than the original materials but we’ve also plugged some of the gaps in the…

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Cyber Security Graded Unit 2 ASPs

Two Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) for this graded unit are under development and will be made available early 2020. Since HND Cyber Security is a multi-disciplinary qualification covering a wide range of topic areas, a thematic approach to course delivery was recommended in the HND Group Award Specification. The unit specification for this graded unit has been written very openly due to the same reason, therefore, we have decided to apply the same (thematic) approach to the assessment development. One…

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Professional Development Awards in Data Science

I’m pleased to let you know that we’re about to commence the development of a new suite of Professional Development Awards (PDAs) in Data Science.  The new awards will be available at SCQF Levels 7, 8 and 9. This development follows the successful introduction of the new National Progression Awards in Data Science, which has attracted a lot of interest from schools and colleges. At the end of the development, there will be national qualifications in data science available at…

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Digital Skills Partnership’s CPD events

The Digital Skills Partnership (DSP) will be running the following events in November and December 2019: 1. Industry Current Practice on Cloud Architecture and Cloud Services: take place at 1-5pm on 6/11 at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. will be repeated with a different speaker at 1-5pm on 13/11 at Inoapps, 2 Fountainhall Road, Aberdeen, AB15 4DT. include presentations from Pulsant (in Glasgow) and Inoapps (in Aberdeen) on current practice they are implementing in this area; include presentations illustrating how our…

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Cyber Escape Room Challenge

If Cyber Resilience is up your street, then the College Development Network has the thing for you. They are organising three days of Cyber Escape Rooms this month. They are aimed at college staff initially, but they have now opened it up to staff/students too. The Cyber Escape rooms will be held at Strathclyde University as follows: Date: 22nd to 24th October Location: Strathclyde University Times: Date AM (2 sessions running in parallel) PM (2 sessions running in parallel) Tuesday…

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SQA values

The Qualifications Development Autumn conference was held yesterday in Glasgow. This annual event provides an opportunity for SQA staff to get together to reflect on things and plan for the future. I attended a number of workshops, one of which was about SQA’s values. Our values are: Trusted Enabling Progressive. We normally score highly in external surveys for trust and equipping people but less highly for innovation, which was borne out at the workshop (SQA staff think likewise). I plan…

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Support group for NPA Data Science

SQA’s remit is to develop and maintain national qualifications. We also produce some support materials (assessments) for centres and, of course, provide the annual diet of examinations. Our support role is normally limited to these activities but every now and again we’re able to go further and provide additional support to centres in the form of teaching and learning material. Thanks to extra funding from the Scottish Government, we were able to provide significant additional support for NPA Cyber Security,…

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Team changes

I recently posted about Emma’s return to the team. I had an extra team member for a couple of weeks (when Helen, Emma and Lorraine were working for me) but that has now come to an end and I am back to my original team. So, from this point on, it’s me, Emma and Helen. Operationally, this means that we’re “back to normal”. Emma is responsible for non-advanced qualifications (National Units, NPAs, NCs) and SVQ/CBQs, and Helen is responsible for…

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NPA Data Science – Additional Support Materials

Further to Bobby’s blog post a couple of weeks ago, we have managed to secure some funding to produce additional support materials for the newly developed NPA Data Science. We are currently producing support materials for all of the mandatory units, so the additional funding will go towards producing materials for some (most) of the optional units, ie: J2G6 45 – Machine Learning (SCQF Level 5) J2G6 46 – Machine Learning (SCQF Level 6) J2GT 45 – Data Science Project…

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Changes to unit codes for Data Science units

One of the features of the new data science qualification is that it is hierarchical, which means that you can mix and match units across levels and still gain a group award. Due to an administrative error, the original units were not coded correctly (the first four characters of the unit code must be the same for units in hierarchies). We’ve now recoded the units with the correct codes. Nothing has changed (apart from the codes) so in terms of…

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Welcome back to Emma

I’m pleased to let you know that Emma has returned from maternity leave. She returned to work (full-time) on Monday. Emma can be contacted at emma.campos@sqa.org.uk. I’ve got Lorraine for a couple more weeks (before she returns to her substantive post in Contracts) so, for a short time, I have the luxury of three Qualifications Officers. Emma returns to her portfolio of non-advanced qualifications, which includes the recently developed NPA Data Science and the enhanced support materials for NPA Cyber…

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Additional support for NPA Data Science

There has been lots of interest in the new data science qualification. It’s similar to the huge interest generated by NPA Cyber Security in 2015. I’m hoping that it turns out to be equally successful. Although some schools and colleges will offer the award this year, two things appear to be holding back centres. One is the relative lateness of it being available and the other is lack of confidence (in data science) among teachers. To help with the second…

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Computing Conference 2020

We’ve held an annual conference for Computing qualifications for a long time (going back more than 20 years) but next year (2020) we’re doing something a little different. Next year’s conference will combine vocational and academic qualifications, so it will cover the full suite of Computing awards ranging from Nationals to HNDs. The event will be a mix of keynotes, workshops and demonstrations. We’ve already thought about the workshops, which will likely include the new materials for NPA Cyber Security,…

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HND Cyber Security subject page

I’m pleased to let you know that the subject page for HND Cyber Security is now available. It can be accessed here. The subject page contains important information about the qualification’s structure and assessment. It also provides a link to the Group Award Specification (direct link), which is an essential document for centres. HND Cyber Security was a large development, which involved creating 15 new (or revised) units. The publication of the subject page concludes the development. It took longer than…

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PDA Cyber Security

I’m pleased to let you know that this development has now commenced. This is the final phase of the three part development plan that has already produced HNC Cyber Security and, recently, HND Cyber Security. This development will be managed by Hilary and the lead officer is Helen. It’s very early days in the project but we’re hoping the have the development complete by early 2020 so that centres can offer it from Spring 2020. The target audience is professional…

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NPA Data Science subject page is now live

The subject page for NPA Data Science is now available. You can access it here. The subject page contains vital information about a qualification including information about its structure and assessment. It also contains a link to the Group Award Specification (GAS), which is the definitive description of the qualification. You can directly download the GAS here. The qualification FAQ is also available. You can download it here: Qualification FAQ (NPA Data Science) The FAQ answers common questions such as:…

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Retiring qualifications

SQA regularly reviews the portfolio of qualifications to remove qualifications that are no longer current. We’re very careful about this. Once a qualification has low (or no) uptake for several years, a Business Development Manager will consult with stakeholders to ensure that removing it is OK before it comes to me to make a final decision. A number of qualifications have been recommended for withdrawal including: NPA Internet Technology PDA Web Development PDA Database Programming Diploma in Digital Application Support.…

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Data science units are now published

The units within the recently validated NPA Data Science have now been published on the SQA website. In total, we developed 12 new units as part of this development. Here is a list of the new units, along with links to each specification. Data Science (Level 4) Data Science (Level 5) Data Science (Level 6) Data Citizenship (Level 4) Data Citizenship (Level 5) Data Citizenship (Level 6) Machine Learning (Level 5) Machine Learning (Level 6) Data Science: Statistics (Level 5)…

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Updated portfolio diagram

The Summer is a good time for the team to catch up with things, and one of the things I always do is update the portfolio diagram, which shows all of the vocational qualifications that me and my team are responsible for. You can download the portfolio via this link. It’s worth downloading and printing the diagram so that you can see what’s coming, what’s going and what’s just arrived. We have a few new arrivals. HND Cyber Security has…

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