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Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Computing Aspect report

I attended the College Development Network, in Stirling, yesterday to get early feedback on the findings of the Computing Aspect Report. Sheila Page, HMIE, spoke at the recent Heads of Computing event to give informal feedback on her findings during the recent inspection of Computing in colleges. Representatives of several colleges attended yesterday's event.


The college inspections were carried out by two HMIEs, including Sheila, and five Associate Assessors, and consisted of two visits to six colleges. It involved classroom observations, discussions with college managers, and analysis of Performance Indicators (PIs).

Although Sheila emphasised that this was interim, not final, feedback, it sounded positive, and certainly more positive than the previous report, in 2009, which was critical of teaching and learning in colleges. So it looks like some significant improvements have taken place since then. She was particularly complimentary about resources, the balance between theory and practical learning, and the commitment of learners. However, some things, such as the way teaching was presented "had headroom for improvement", using active learning and project work. But much progress seems to have been made since 2009.

Sheila wanted our feedback on her findings. There was pretty much unanimous view that CPD remains a problem in a subject area, as one attendee put it, "with a unique need for on-going CPD due to the rate of change in the subject area". I asked about assessment practice in colleges (the previous report alluded to "teaching to the test") and Sheila agreed to give this some consideration for inclusion in the final report.

There will be lessons, too, for me and my team since the final report will discuss qualifications and the curriculum. I look forward to reading it. The report will be finalised by June and published in September.

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