Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sector Panel meeting

The Sector Panel for Computing & IT met today in the SQA offices in Glasgow. The Panel meets twice per year. The basic job of a Sector Panel is to provide advice to the SQA team about external developments to ensure that the qualification portfolio is relevant to the needs of stakeholders. Members include representatives of colleges (such as Forth Valley College), employers (such as Microsoft) and national agencies (such as Education Scotland). I was pleased to introduce two new members tday - a representative of the British Computer Society and a representative of Skills Development Scotland.

We had a busy agenda, which included the HN Review, the update to Internet Safety, and the progress with the new NPAs in Mobile Technology.

Members were impressed with how the new HNs are shaping up. The draft frameworks include lots of new units, such as Computer Forensics, Online Collaboration, Mobile Technology and Cloud Computing, which should make the new awards very up-to-date.

Two members of the Panel had produced a report on how best to measure performance, and they reported on their findings today. Measuring success is not simply a case of working out what percentage of the intake actually achieve an HNC or HND in a given year. Many students leave courses early or return to complete a course they started some years before, so it was interesting to discuss how best to measure the "true" success rates. One of the presenters noted that the number of students doing HN awards in Computing had remained largely stable, in spite of significant falls in number of students studying Computing at university and, to a lesser extent, schools.

The discussions will continue on the online forum for Panel members. The next meeting will take place in Spring 2012.

We're looking for new members so please contact Caroline if you are interested in serving on the Panel.

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