Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Communicating changes to units and assessments to centres

There was an interesting discussion at Friday's QST meeting about how SQA communicates changes to unit specs or assessment exemplars to centres.

The problem is that we can change units or assessments at any time. When people inform us about errors or improvements we try to action these changes as quickly as we can -- resulting in revised units and assessment being published throughout the year. This means that staff in centres can accidentally use an out of date unit spec or assessment exemplar.

The QST's solution is simple: always print the current unit spec and assessment exemplar before you begin to teach a new class. Don't file a paper copy of these materials in a unit pack since this can often be the cause of the problem.

We discussed batching changes (perhaps one or two updates per year) but this incurred unnecessary delays on (sometimes) important changes; we discussed writing to centres whenever a change was made but this would result in dozens of letters every year, with no guarantee that ordinary teachers would ever see the letters. So we kept coming back to: print the latest unit spec and assessment exemplar before you start teaching.

I'd be interested in your comments on this.


  1. I always get the current version of the Unit Specification before I start teaching a unit.

    However, this is more problematic for the Assessment Exemplars as these are only available via the SQA Secure site so we have to ask a member of staff from Quality to get exemplars for us. With one person in the whole College who has access, it is not a valuable use of her time to get her to download thousands of exemplars, most of which have not been updated.
    It would be best if we were notified when new Assessment Exemplars became available.

  2. Thanks for the feedback. I agree that it is best to simply download and print each unit spec before starting to teach, since this is the only way that you can be sure of using the correct version.

    I take your point about assessment exemplars. Maybe there is a Web 2 tool that we could use to let you know the latest version of each assessment exemplar?