Tuesday, 19 January 2010

NPA Computer Games Development

There was a meeting of the Qualification Development Team (QDT) for the new NPAs in Computer Games today. It was a full-day meeting because we had a lot to go through.

I was approached by Julie McLaren of Forrester High School in late-April of last year. Julie wanted to develop a new non-advanced qualification in computer games for her pupils and wanted my opinion of her proposed qualification, which was a single award based on existing units. Since that time, the development has grown arms and legs, and now spans three levels (SCQF 4, 5 and 6) and comprises nine new units.

The reason for the project growing so much was due to the huge amount of interest in this area. Our original quick-and-simple qualification attracted a great deal of feedback and the overwhelming majority of people wanted us to be more adventurous and design new units that matched the current games industry. So we did. And we now have a much larger development, still led by Julie who has since moved to Madras College.

The downside is that the qualifications will take longer to produce. Their estimated availability is now May of this year. The up-side is that the qualifications are purpose-built for computer games, their contents more up-to-date, and spanning several levels. The QDT preferred to slow down and get things right rather than rush things. For example, all three qualifications have identical structures and are differentiated by PC and assessment (a "hierarchy" in SQA-speak), which makes teaching across levels much easier.

We are hoping to have all of the units written by the end of February and the validation event carried out in early April. Contact Hilary if you want to be involved in the validation panel. Contact Julie for more information about this development.

This project, combined with the HNC/D Computer Games development, will result in games-based qualifications at SCQF Levels 4-8, all of which should be available to centres by late Spring.


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