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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

HN alternative assessments

I've previously mentioned the Qualification Review Team (QRT). The QRT was responsible for devising alternative assessments that could be used in place of the existing assessments to better reflect the assessments faced by students at university. The QRT for Computing met four times, after which SQA finalised the alternative assessments.

I am a member of the Project Board for this development, and the Board had its ninth meeting this morning. The purpose of the meeting was to get an update on how the project is going. We will be looking for pilot centres in the near future. These centres will trial the alternative assessments between August 2014 and June 2016. There will be a launch event (for pilot centres) early next year.

Developing these assessments has been a two stage process. The first part was creating the "assessment designs"; the second part is writing the actual Assessment Support Packs (ASPs). So far, we have produced assessment designs for:
  1. HNC Computing (a project)
  2. HND Computer Science (an exam)
  3. HND Computing: Networking (an exam)
  4. HND Computing: Software Development (an exam).
The alternative assessments combine the assessment for several outcomes. For example, the HND Networking exam covers 13 outcomes from various units in the second year of that programme. We hope that these bigger, more holistic assessments will give students a better idea of the types of assessments that will face them at university.

The next stage is to write the alternative ASPs. That should be relatively straight-forward given the level of specificity in the assessment designs (which, for example, define the duration, size and structure of the exam paper). I am looking for volunteers to do this so please don't hesitate to contact me if you are interested in finding out more.

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