Thursday, 30 June 2011

Reviewing the satisfaction survey

The team met this afternoon to look over the results of the recent survey we carried out to find out your satisfaction with the service we provide.

As previously noted, the results were re-assuringly positive, with very low rates of dissatisfaction (5%), but there are areas that we need to work on to improve the service. Some of the weaker areas, such as SOLAR and the SQA website, are not the responsibility of my team, but others are, and we will try to address them over the next year.

Two specific weaknesses fall into the team's domain. The way in which we select people to work with us was criticised as being a bit opaque and unfair, and the fractured way in which we communicate with you (letters, website, blog, Twitter, etc.) was also criticised. We'll try to improve on these issues before the next survey.

But overall the results were good. I was particularly pleased at some of the positive results. The range and quality of qualifications were rated highly (90+% satisfaction), and the team is seen as courteous and approachable.

Thanks to those of you who took the time to complete the questionnaire. Hopefully, improvements will come out of it.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Satisfaction survey is now closed

I closed the satisfaction survey this afternoon. It's been running for the last month so, I think, people have had enough time to respond. There were 55 responses in total, which is not bad, but not quite as many as I had hoped for. Most of the respondents (almost three quarters) were from the college sector, which was expected.

I don't plan to share the results since the information will be used internally to improve the service that we provide. But I do intend to collect this information every year so that we can compare our performance from year to year.

Overall, the results were good. Only 4% were unhappy with the service that the team provides, and only 5% were dissatisfied with SQA as an awarding body. But there are areas where we need to improve, such as the way in which we select people to work with us (13% were unaware of opportunities to get involved). The team will meet in the near future to look at the weak areas and try to improve.

Thanks for taking the time to complete the survey. Look out for another one this time next year.

Computing & IT Subject Network event

Yesterday afternoon, I posted something on the HN Review blog about an event organised by Scotland's Colleges. Every year, Scotland's Colleges organises a Network event to bring together practitioners from all over Scotland. I posted my comments on the HN blog because my own contribution to the day was about the on-going HN Review.

But a number of SQA developments featured during the event, including the new NC in Computer Games Development and the NPA in Mobile Technology. It was pleasing to see SQA developments play such a central role in the event, which, hopefully, shows that our work is important to colleges.

You can read a fuller account of the day on the HN blog.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Cally Beck of IBM has asked us to highlight this opportunity for Scottish HN Candidates.

We are aware it is late in the academic year to initiate work for this but we are hopeful that there may be some appropriate project work that a student could submit.

"The award is the GuideShare Europe academic excellence award. GuideShare Europe (GSE), is IBM's large enterprise client user group, large companies in all sectors, including Bank of America, HSBC etc. We are asking students to submit a paper/project entitled "Using technology to make life easier". I am attaching the link to the website with details of entry requirements and judging criteria.

The winner will be announced and flown all expenses to Madrid in October to collect the award and the prizes."

Internet Safety - Online Survey

In September 2006 we launched what was probably the world's first Internet Safety qualification, consisting of a single Unit at Intermediate 1 (SCQF Level 4). This qualification was aimed mainly at secondary school and college students and has seen a substantial uptake from these groups.

However, there have been significant changes in Internet use since 2006, particularly the increased use of Social Networking and the associated dangers. A minor revision of the qualification was undertaken in late 2010, prior to having it accredited on QCF for use in England and Wales.

We are now proposing to carry out a major revision of the Unit as used in Scotland. Ted Hastings has been commissioned by us to research opinions regarding the content of the revised qualification. To this end I would be grateful if you could take some time to answer the following questions at your earliest convenience. The questions should take only a few minutes to answer. Your responses will have a major impact on shaping the revised qualification.

The questionnaire can be found at

Once the results have been analysed they will be published on the SQA Computing blog as well as our usual channels of communication.

Thank you for your cooperation. If you have any queries, or other comments to make, or wish to suggest anyone else who ought to receive this questionnaire, please email Ted at

Monday, 6 June 2011

HN review

I updated the HN Review blog this morning with the latest information about that development. The review of HNC/D Computing and HNC/D Networking is a major project for the team - so major that it has its own blog. I'm sure that anyone with an interest in the associated qualifications will already follow that blog but, for those who don't, this might be a good time to provide an update.

Consultation is a key part of any HN development and the lead developer, Gerry Mackie from Dundee College, has consulted widely -- with colleges, universities, employers and others. We recently created a consultation questionnaire and over 133 people took the time to complete it. The results were re-assuring and supportive of the QDT's proposals. So, the next stage is to finalise the qualification frameworks and get down to unit writing.

We plan to publish the frameworks in the next week or two. We will get down to unit writing over the summer. And the validation event will take place around November or December. The new awards will be available to centres from early 2012. There will be a launch event in Spring 2012.

A distinctive feature of Scottish education is the way in which we involve the wider educational community in developments. There are 22 colleges represented on the QDT for this development. The frameworks were developed by experienced college lecturers. The units will be written by classroom practitioners. And the Validation Panel will consist of independent people (drawn from education and industry). Although it takes longer and is harder to manage than the "smokey room" model of qualification development, the end result is better qualifications -- and qualifications that the sector have developed and feel a sense of ownership.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about the HN Review. Or follow the developments on the blog.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Updating of Specifications & Arrangement Documents

Over the Summer period I will be putting forward any changes to unit specifications that have been agreed by the QDT as well as updates to the framework sections in the Arrangement documents for all HNC/D awards.

All changes/updates will be implemented and ready for the start of the new session.  Any changes relating to HN Units/Awards are tracked and listed on the SQA website here