NPA Web Design – Subject page LIVE

As announced in a post before the Christmas break, the subject page for the revised NPA Web Design (GN57 45), at SCQF Level 5, was being set up.  I can now confirm that the subject page is live and can be accessed via the SQA website. The subject page for the revised NPA Digital Media at SCQF Levels 4 and 5 will follow shortly.

The NPA Web Design is a revision of the NPA Web Design Fundamentals (G8HD 45). …

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NC and NPA Computer Games Development

We’ve had a busy week, kicking off a number of developments. In addition to the NPAs that I recently mentioned, me and Emma also met with the consultants responsible for scoping NC Computer Games Development and NPA Computer Games Development. This means that, at this time, we have commenced the review of the following non-advanced awards:

NPA Computer Games Development (SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6)
NC Computer Games Development (SCQF Levels 5 and 6)
NPA Software Development (SCQF Level 4)
NPA Digital Media Basics (SCQF Level 4)
NPA Digital Media Editing (SCQF Level 5)
NPA Web Design Fundamentals ( …

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NPAs and NCs – Scoping

Further to Bobby’s post last week, we are currently looking for volunteers to scope the qualifications listed below. In order to keep providing you with good and sound qualifications, we aim to review our qualifications at least every five years, although some of the ones listed are overdue. Hence the importance of scoping before proceeding with the review. Among other …

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Update on PC Passport

As some of you are already aware, the revised NPA in PC Passport was validated in April, and is now available to centres. You can find all relevant information for this qualification on a subject page on our website and in the FAQ. The FAQ contains useful links to the Group Award Specification and unit specifications.
This qualification is supported …

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PC Passport Assessment Support Material

A number of NPA PC Passport Assessment Support Packs have recently been published. These ASPs have been developed to support the delivery of the new PC Passport Units.
The following PC Passport ASPs are now available to centres on SQA’s Secure Website – www.sqa.org/sqasecure
SCQF level 4:
Web Apps: Presentations (HA6J 44)
Web Apps: Spreadsheets (HA6L 44)
Web Apps: Word Processing (HA6M 44)
SCQF level 6:
Web …

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NPA in Software Development

We recently developed a new National Progression Award (NPA) in Software Development at SCQF Level 6 (Higher level) for use within the Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) in IT. The qualification has a simple structure, comprising three (mandatory) units.

Computing: Applications Development
Computing: Authoring a Website
Software Design & Development.

The total credit value is 3½ credits (21 SCQF points) – which means it lasts 140 …

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Old and new PC Passport

We’ve had a lot of enquiries about the new PC Passport. One of the most common questions is: can I still run the current award next year? The current award goes into lapsing in January next year (2017) and we will continue to accept entries for the “old” award until then. So if you have plans to offer the current version of PC Passport next year (session 2016/17) then there will be no problems — so long as you get your entries in before next January. Please use the correct Group Award codes since these distinguish the old from the new.

We made this decision because the timing is not ideal for centres. We hoped to have the new version available earlier than it was, to give centres more time to change over, but, given that it was only recently validated, we thought it best to let you decide when to change over.

If you’re unsure, I hope that you choose to go with the new award. I think that it’s better – and much more up-to-date. It has a simpler structure, dedicated Units for each application (word processing, spreadsheets and presentations) and is linked to a vendor (Microsoft). The FAQ (see question 17) explains more fully the advantages …

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PC Passport update

I’ve received a few enquiries about the review of PC Passport so I thought that it would be a good time to provide an update. PC Passport was originally introduced in 2004 and first reviewed in 2007. We commenced the second review in 2013.

This second review was “parked” for a while since it was decided to split the development into two: one to develop a new suite of qualifications entitled “Digital Passport” and one to update PC Passport. Digital Passport was completed in 2015, when we re-commenced the review of PC Passport. The validation of PC Passport took place in November. Since then the Qualification Development Team has been addressing the validation conditions, one of which was to consult on the structure of the qualification. We’ve also validated most of the Units in the revised award.

Although the review of PC Passport has taken a lot longer than planned, I think we’ve done the right thing to produce a brand new suite of awards that focus on digital literacy (including social media and information literacy) and, separately, updating PC Passport without making too many changes to its contents. The revised PC Passport goes back to basics — separate Units on Word Processing, Spreadsheets and Presentations (but focussing on the latest collaborative features of these applications) and a much simpler structure, like the original (2004) award. Another new feature is strong links with Microsoft Office Specialist so that, effectively, the new PC Passport and MOS cover the same things.

Digital Passport is available now. PC Passport will be available …

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NPA PC Passport – core Units are coded and published

The core Units within the revised NPAs in PC Passport SCQF Levels 4, 5 and 6 have now been published on the SQA website. There are nine new Units in total. These are:

HA6J 44 Web Apps: Presentations (SCQF Level 4)
HA6J 45 Web Apps: Presentations (SCQF Level 5)
HA6J 46 Web Apps: Presentations (SCQF Level 6)
HA6L 44 Web Apps: Spreadsheets (SCQF Level 4)
HA6L 45 Web Apps: Spreadsheets (SCQF Level 5)
HA6L 46 Web Apps: Spreadsheets (SCQF Level 6)
HA6M 44 Web Apps: Word Processing (SCQF Level 4)
HA6M 45 Web Apps: Word Processing (SCQF Level 5)
HA6M 46  …

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Safer Internet Day 2016

Today is Safer Internet Day. The Safer Internet Centre is launching a number of initiatives in support of the day. SQA is supporting the day too with a webpage explaining the qualifications that are available to protect learners from online threats.

SQA was the first awarding body in the UK to offer a national qualification in online safety (in 2007) and …

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PC Passport survey

One of the conditions from the recent validation event for PC Passport was to consider different structures for the qualification. The QDT presented their preferred structure but the Validation Panel suggested possible alternatives, and asked the QDT to get feedback on a number of possible options.

So, to that end, I have created a short survey, suggesting three possible options. …

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NPA in Digital Literacy web page is live

The web page for this new qualification is now live. The qualification was validated some time ago, but you can now access a dedicated web page about this revised award. You’ll find the Group Award Specification (GAS) and other information on that page. The GAS defines the structure of the award and contains information about how to deliver and assess the qualification.

This new qualification is an ideal introduction to digital skills. It is at SCQF Level 3 and contains three (mandatory) units (lasting 120 hours).

1. Computer Applications (SCQF 3)
2. Computer Basics (SCQF 3)
3. Digital Skills. (SCQF 3).

It’s a basic, modern course covering smartphones, tablets, PCs and other digital devices. Absolultely no previous knowledge or experience of computing is required. It is designed to deliver essential digital skills for citizens, employees, and those seeking employment. Topics covered include basic software skills, basic hardware skills, social media and online safety..

You can find out more about this award by reading …

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PC Passport validation event

The validation of PC Passport took place today in the SQA offices in Glasgow. The Validation Panel was made up of representatives of colleges, employers and SQA. The purpose of a validation event is for fresh eyes to review the proposed changes to a qualification. The Qualification Development Team (QDT) presented a new Group Award Specification and explained the reasons …

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Computing At Schools Scotland Conference

This year’s CAS Scotland Conference was held on Saturday at the University of Dundee. It’s invariably a good event, with a good attendance, and this year was no different. The event is designed for school teachers, although some college and university lecturers also attend.

The event is a mix of keynotes, seminars and presentations. There were sessions on National 5 and …

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Cyber Security workshop

Education Scotland is organising a workshop for school teachers to help them deliver courses in Cyber Security. The workshop will cover the Cyber Badge and national qualifications in this field. I will be there to present the part about national qualifications. I will talk about the Award in Cyber Security and the National Progression Awards.

Education Scotland offered similar workshops …

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Considering offering Cyber Security?

We’ve had a great deal of interest in the new Cyber Security qualifications. Not only the NPAs but also the National Unit. The most common comment is: “My school is interested in offering these awards but I’m not sure how I go about it.” So, here is an update on the current position.

Both the National Unit and the National …

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International Conference on Cyber Security & Education

I attended this conference today, along with Helen, which was held in the beautiful grounds of the Scottish Police College in Alloa. The event featured in today’s Herald newspaper since it involved cyber crime experts from around the world including the FBI and Interpol.

Steven Wilson, of the Specialist Crime Division of Police Scotland, gave the opening address and made specific mention of the importance of education, which he described as the “key” to tackling cyber crime. He, kindly, made …

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NPA Digital Literacy is validated

I came into good news this morning — the NPA Digital Literacy at SCQF Level 3 has now been validated. A number of conditions and recommendations were placed on it at the recent validation event, but these have now been addressed. This (almost) brings to a conclusion a development that commenced last February. The final stage is to “operationalise” the qualification ( …

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Cyber qualifications in the news

Following last week’s launch event, the new Cyber Security qualifications have been in the news. Today’s Herald has an article about them and the Scottish Government has been promoting them too. SQA has made a YouTube video to encourage schools to offer them.

There has been a great deal of interest in these new qualifications. Many schools are offering one or more of them alongside more traditional qualifications, and several colleges are offering them as part of the National Certificate.

The presentations from last week’s launch event are now available. You can download them here.

We’re here to help if you are currently offering the qualification or considering it. Please contact Helen for information …

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Cyber Security launch event

The launch event for the new qualifications in Cyber Security took place yesterday in the Stirling Highland Hotel. There was an excellent attendance, on a beautiful day, with 90 people attending both sessions. Sixty five schools and ten colleges were represented at the event, with representatives of regional councils, universities and employers also in attendance.

The agenda included a lot of …

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