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Wednesday, 30 January 2008

National Certificate (Level 6) validation

I returned from two weeks in Botswana yesterday, where I was helping their Ministry of Education launch an Advanced Certificate in ICT, which is similar to our HNC Computing/Networking awards. I greatly enjoyed (and learnt from) the experience. It's amazing how teachers the world over share the same concerns (resources, assessment, quality of students, etc.).

The team has been busy in my absence. In particular, Angela has been working hard to prepare for this Friday's validation of the new National Certificate in Digital Media Computing at Level 6. As you probably know, the Levels 4 and 5 awards are currently available to centres, so this award completes the suite. Walter Patterson is leading the Qualification Development Team and Ron Dillon (Stow College) is convening the Validation Panel. It should be a good event.

I've also (at last) got around to asking for volunteers for the QDT for the HND Multimedia development so please check this out if you want to be involved in this important development.

Thursday, 24 January 2008

DV6D 34 Information Technology Graded Unit Exam Exemplars

The following Exam Exemplars for IT have now been published:

DV6D 34 Information Technology: Graded Unit 1 Exam Exemplars 4, 5 & 6

Centres can also use Versions 1, 2 & 3 and all of these are available on the SQA secure website for download through your SQA Centre Co-ordinator.

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Congratulations to Ayr College

Well done to Tony Gurney and his team for winning the IBM competition to design a poster for IBM System i.

The competition was lauched by IBM last October and finished on the 31st December 2007.

The winners each receive a 4GB iPod Nano.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

F1XA 34 & F1X9 34 Computing: PC Hardware and Operating Systems Essentials/Support

There have been a couple of tweaks made to the above Units (Computing: PC Hardware and Operating Systems Essentials & Computing: PC Hardware and Operating Systems Support) and both units are now identified as Version 02.

The changes made to both Units are as follows:

Change of wording from Restricted Response Test to Multiple Choice Test within Assessment Guideline sections.

Change made to suggested time allocation. This now states 80 minutes for Multiple Choice Test rather that 90 minutes (5 min start up time, 80 min test and 5 min finish off time).

The associated Assessment Exemplars follow these changes and are currently with our Support Materials section for publishing.

Copies of the revised HN Units for F1XA 34 & F1X9 34 can be downloaded from the SQA website.

Thursday, 10 January 2008

Access problems to blog

I've had some feedback about access problems with Blogger. It appears that many colleges and local authorities have blocked the blogspot.com domain name - which means that many people can't access this blog (at work).

So I've created a small survey to ask if you can access Blogger and, if not, if you can access a popular alternative (Wordpress). Interestingly, SQA blocks Blogger but not Wordpress. I appreciate that if you can read this message then you can access Blogger but can you indicate this in the survey (i.e. do not select Blogger if you had to ask permission to access this site). Alternatively, you may be accessing this page from home since your college/school has firewalled it.

Depending on the results, I might move the site to Wordpress. Thanks in anticipation.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Exam Exemplars - 2008

The Graded Unit exam exemplars have now been finalised and are with our Support Materials Department for publishing. We have produced the following:

DH36 34 Computing: Graded Unit 1 Exemplar (3 versions)
DE36 34 Interactive Multimedia Creation: Graded Unit 1 Exemplar (3 versions)
DV6D 34 Information Technology: Graded Unit 1 Exemplar (3 versions)

These will be in addition to the exisiting exemplars available on the SQA secure website bringing a total of six graded unit exemplars per subject (ie DV6D 34 Information Technology: GU1 Versions 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6).

Over the next 6-8 weeks these exemplars will gradually be added to the SQA secure site by our support materials department.

Exemplars for DE36 34 Interactive Multimedia Creation GU1 cover the Communication: Practical Skills Unit. We have produced two separate exemplars which assess the Writing for the Media Unit and would appreciate if centres contact me direct if they wish to use these versions.

PC Passport Assessment Support Packs (ASPs)

Today saw the final work-based pack for PC Passport: Advanced added to the SQA Secure website.

This now completes the full suite of ASPs available to support the award at Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced levels.

Access to these materials are through the SQA Co-ordinator within your centre.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Oracle Academy

I met with Jane Richardson of Oracle this morning to discuss developments relating to SQA's links with Oracle. We have two on-going developments: one relating to NQ (their Database Design course maps onto the Information Systems course at AH level) and one relating to HN (the Database Design course provides credit transfer to several HN units).

Oracle has recently updated it's Oracle Academy programme, which now includes several qualifications. The one that we're interested in is called Introduction to Computer Science, which contains the Database Design and a new unit entitled "PLSQL" (Programming Language SQL).

We recently checked SQA qualifications for a similar unit to PLSQL - but couldn't find one so we've agreed to develop one. Look out for more information in the future. In the meantime, contact Caroline if you want to know more about SQA's links with Oracle or contact Jane if you want to know more about the Oracle Academy.

Jane pointed out that Oracle intended to use the relationship with SQA as an example of a successful global public-private partnership and I can certainly vouch for the superb training made available to Scottish teachers through this programme.