Thursday, 6 June 2013

Qualification Review Team meeting

The Qualification Review Team (QRT) for Computing met this morning for the fourth time. As previously noted, the aim of the QRT is to devise alternative assessments that are better suited to students who plan to go on to university.

The purpose of today's meeting was to look over the draft assessment designs. Two members of the QRT were tasked with producing detailed designs for the alternative assessments. These designs were not actual assessments but they do define what such an assessment would look like. We reviewed the following alternative assessment designs:

  • project for HNC students
  • examination for HND students.

The purpose of the project is to combine the practical outcomes of a number of (mandatory) units within the HNC award to produce an assignment similar to that used at university. The QRT also produced designs for a number of examinations:

  1. HND Computing: Networking
  2. HND Computing: Software Development
  3. HND Computer Science.

These exams will assess the knowledge and understanding in a number of units within the second year of these awards. The aim is to produce larger, better integrated assessments, which look and feel more like those students will face at university.

These designs are not instruments of assessment. But they do define, precisely, what an instrument would look like (number of questions, pass marks, types of questions, etc.) so it shouldn't be too difficult to progress to the next stage and actually write the assessments.

We hope to have the designs finalised by next month (July), Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) commissioned by August and ready for October, and the whole thing (designs, ASPs, and guidance) completed by December, so that centres can begin to use the new material from January 2014.

There will be one other output from this project. We've been working on a list of "academic competences" that universities would like college students to possess (such as study skills and examination skills) and we've been compiling a list of these that we can use to audit the awards to help colleges identify them and ensure they are highlighted to students.

We'll be asking centres to come forward to pilot the alternative assessment later this year. Contact me if you want to know more about this project.

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