I met with Iain Lowson, of HMIe, today. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how SQA could respond to the recent Aspect report [PDF] on Computing within FE.
I agreed to take forward two things as a result of the meeting: (1) advice to centres about the teaching of programming; and (2) advice to centres about the use of portfolios.
Programming remains a problem in FE. Some centres use advanced languages to teach the principles of programming, such as C++, which the students find difficult to understand. So I agreed to look at how languages such as Scratch could be used within National Certificate (NC) programmes.
The report also mentioned how assessment can sometimes drive learning. We discussed how portfolio building could be a more natural way of generating evidence of assessment, rather than several short assessments. I agreed to look at ways of using portfolios within the NC awards. Some kind of digital portfolio (using Web 2.0 tools or e-portfolio products) would be the focus of attention.
If/when I am given the green light to take forward these suggestions, I will ask for volunteers on the SQA Groupsite, so don't forget to subscribe.
The Aspect report features prominently in next Friday's (4 December) Heads of Computing event in Glasgow. There are still places available if you want to attend. You can register here.