Friday, 22 November 2013

CUSP meeting

I've mentioned the CUSP group before. There was another meeting last Friday (I've been meaning to post a message since then) that I attended. The meeting was held at Caledonian University. The prime goal of the group is to promote and ease articulation from college to university so members were very interested in the alternative assessments that I am developing for the new HN awards. I gave a presentation on this topic, which seemed to be well received.

The new assessments are a good fit for this group since the aims coincide -- smoothing progression from college to university. The alternative assessments are designed to do exactly that since they aim to mirror the sorts of assessments that students face at university. There will be a number of "university-type" assessments covering a range of new awards.

We'll be looking for pilot centres early next year and, given the positive response of CUSP members, I'm hopeful that there will be no shortage of volunteers. Look out for more information in the New Year.

Contact me if you want to know more about the alternative assessments for Computing.

Monday, 11 November 2013

PC Passport and NC Digital Media Computing validation events

The dates for the validation events for NC Digital Media Computing and PC Passport have now been set. The PC Passport validation event will take place on Thursday, 23 January and the NC validation event will take place on Thursday, 30 January. I've posted several updates about these developments during the last few months.

The purpose of the validation event is for fresh pairs of eyes to look over the proposals. It's a meeting of peers in that the panel and the QDT both consist of practicing teachers and lecturers, as well as representatives of employers and national organisations.

Hilary is organising both events so please contact her if you are interested in serving on either (or both) validation panels.

Both awards will be available to centres from Spring 2014.

Verification Group meeting

I went along to Saturday's annual update meeting for External Verifiers. The Computing group is led by David Drennan, who is the Senior External Verifier.

It was a busy agenda, covering the new Quality Assurance Management Systems (QAMS), CPD, and David's annual report on centre performance. I traditionally give a qualification update at the meeting to let EVs know about what's been done and what's coming. This year's presentation (by both me and Caroline) included the new HND awards, the on-going reviews of NC Digital Media Computing and PC Passport, and our work plan for next year, which includes, among other things, reviews of a number of NPAs and the HNC/D Interactive Media.

I also explained the new Verification Groups. Readers of this blog will know that the subject area has been divided into three cognate groups: 288 Information Technology, 357 Computer Science, and 358 Digital Literacy. Each of the EVs has now been allocated to one or more of these new groups.

Please see my previous post if you're interested in becoming an External Verifier.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Centre satisfaction survey

I closed the centre satisfaction survey this morning. It's been open for 10 weeks. There were only 15 responses so it's hard to place too much faith in the results.

Overall, the results were good. In spite of the use of electronic communications, my annual update letters are still popular with centres (65% of respondents read them); unlike Twitter, which remains the least popular means of communication (7%). Not only were the update letter read - they were liked too (82%). So, it looks like I will be writing to centres for the foreseeable future. This blog split respondents down the middle - with 47% being very satisfied (the highest "very satisfied" rating of any information source) but also 47% being dissatisfied. Overall, 86% of respondents were satisfied or very satisfied with the way the team communicates with centres.

You were also pretty happy with the range (93%) and quality (71%) of qualifications. However, the amount of assessment did not rate so highly (64% were satisfied). Support materials were liked, with the exception of the e-learning material (60% were not satisfied) and SOLAR (67% were not satisfied). So we need to work on them.

According to the results, you're aware of what we're doing (21% were not), happy with the speed of response (7% were not), felt that we dealt with you courtesously (no-one thought otherwise), but you were less sure about the opportunities to get involved with SQA (43%). Overall, only one in seven (14%) of respondents were dissatisfied with the service that the team provides.

The overall satisfaction rating (which includes everything) remains high -- only 14% were dissatisfied and no-one was "completely dissatisfied". So, I am pretty pleased with the results. There is room for improvement (such as our e-learning materials and we need to do more work on reducing assessment) but there were a lot of positives too. However, the size of the response prevents me from reading too much into the results.

Friday, 1 November 2013

HNC/D Computing - e-Material Development

Last year, as additional support for the new HNC Computing award, we produced e-materials for the following mandatory units:

  • Professionalism and Ethics in Computing
  • Developing Software: Introduction
  • Computer System Fundamentals
  • Troubleshooting Computing Problems
  • Team Working in Computing

This year we have managed to secure additional budget to produce e-materials for a further four units.  We have chosen to cover a single mandatory unit in each of the four new HND Computing awards (Software Development, Technical Support, Networking and Computer Science).  These e-materials will be based on the following units:

  • Software Development: Data Structures
  • Routing Technology
  • Network Server Operating Systems
  • Network Technology and Data Communications

These new materials will be available by February 2014.  Once finalised they will sit alongside the above batch of e-materials which can be accessed here

The new awards are heavily supported with both traditional ASPs, SOLAR assessments and e-Materials as previously mentioned in a recent blog posting.

If you have any queries relating to any of the support materials for the new HNC/D Computing awards, contact myself.

Last Chance - Centre Satisfaction Survey

The centre satisfaction has been open for a number of weeks now and we are looking to close this off so we can evaluate the responses in comparison to previous years.

Can I urge you to take a few minutes of your time to complete the survey if you have not already done so.  If you feel this would be more relevant to another colleague, then please forward on the survey link to them.

You can find the survey here.