Friday, 10 December 2010

Performance indicators in Computing

The performance indicators (PIs) for Computing are a problem for most colleges and it's an issue that has been raised by the Sector Panel on many occasions. At the last Sector Panel meeting, Ron Dillon (Stow College) and Joanna McGilvray (Forth Valley College) asked to look into this in more detail.
 So, Ron, Joanna and me met this afternoon to take this forward. We looked at some data about uptake, and unit and award pass rates.

It was an interesting meeting. We agreed to try to create a template that could be used, from year to year, to record and track progress in terms of course and unit entries and pass rates. This is not as easy as it sounds because of the inevitable complexities that arise when you look at any large data sets. But we hope to produce something that both SQA and centres can use.

Contact me if you want to know more about this project.


  1. This is a really interesting project and will help to inform future developments. For example, we will be able to identify units and courses which have particularly low (or high!) pass rates.
    As discussed at the recent Heads of Computing meeting in Edinburgh, all HNDs should have comparable pass rates but we suspect that some Computing HNDs are easier/harder than others. Also, HNDs in Computing should, ideally, have similar pass rates to those in Engineering, Social Science, Care, Business etc. Previous analysis has shown that computing success rates are generally low compared to other subject areas. We will look at trends - are enrolments and pass rates improving over time? Have things improved since the Computing Aspect review in 2008? Because of the complexities involved, and the fact that some colleges do not enrol students for the group award unless they have passed the group award, we also hope to do some comparison with the data which colleges return to the funding council.

  2. Joanna and I have made significant progress to date. However, we now need to meet with someone from SQA's statistics department to allow us to understand the data better and clear up some apparent anomalies. We are in the process of setting up a meeting with the stats people.

  3. Joanna and I have a meeting booked at SQA Dalkeith tomorrow (Wednesday 16/02/11). We are meeting with Marie from the stats team. This will help us to tazke things forward to the next stage.