Monday, 31 March 2014

Digital Literacy Competency Framework

We've been developing a Digital Literacy Competency Framework (DLCF) for some time. This framework defines the knowledge, skills and behaviours expected from someone who is considered digitally literate.

We've used this framework to develop the new Digital Passport award, and it will be the basis of future digital literacy awards. Unlike similar frameworks, the DLCF defines not only knowledge and skills but also the attitudes and behaviours that the modern citizen needs. It's also very up-to-date, including such things as "attention literacy" - the mindfulness that is needed to overcome the distractions of the modern age.

We think that the Framework is a pretty unique mix of knowledge, skills and behaviours -- but it's still evolving so let us know, in the comment section, if you think that we've left anything out.

Contact Hilary if you want to know more about the DLCF or our digital literacy awards.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Enhancements to HN Qualifications

The information event for this project took place today in Jury's Inn in Glasgow. There was an excellent turnout.

The purpose of today's event was to let centres know about the project, and also to ask for volunteers to get involved in the pilot.

I've mentioned this initiative several times before. Computing is one of four subject areas chosen to "enhance" our HN qualifications to make them better suited for articulation with university. We did this by devising alternative assessments that try to look more like university assessments. We devised four alternative assessments: one project for HNC Computing and three exams for various HNDs. This document lists the alternative assessments.

These assessments combine the individual unit assessments into one large assessment. For example, the Networking exam covers two entire units. I was pleased to see that Computing has managed to combine more outcomes into our assessments than any other subject area.

We're currently looking for pilot centres to get involved in this project. These centres would deliver the new assessments either in place of, or alongside, the current assessments. We would ask pilot centres to provide us with some feedback on their experience of using these assessments (via an online survey). The pilot will run from 2014 to 2016. Only centres that sign-up for the pilot will be permitted to use these alternative assessments, so it's vital that your centres does so if you want to be involved.

I was delighted that eight centres expressed their interest in being involved in the pilot at today's meeting. But anyone can still volunteer. Please e-mail to express your interest or ask any questions about this project.

Monday, 17 March 2014


We met with the SOLAR team this afternoon. SOLAR is SQA's online assessment system. The purpose of today's meeting was to discuss the the current and future support of Computing qualifications by SOLAR.

SOLAR has been been providing e-assessments for Computing awards for almost ten years now (2005). In fact, Computing has more SOLAR assessments than any other subject. The assessments mostly take the form of online objective tests but more recently it has included other forms of on-screen testing. Most colleges, and many schools, now use SOLAR on a regular basis.

The purpose of today's meeting was to review the current use of SOLAR and think about what new awards need to be added. The use of SOLAR (for Computing) by centres is mixed. Some awards are heavily used, such as the HN Computing qualifications (old and new), and some awards are not so popular, such as the NC awards. We also discussed the new awards that are coming down the pipeline -- particularly Digital Passport, which we intend to support in various ways - including SOLAR.

Please contact if you want to know more about this service or find out what qualifications are supported. There are dozens of Computing units covered by hundreds of assessments.

Working with us

One of the less positive results from our annual satisfaction survey relates to opportunities to work with SQA. A lot of respondents reported that they were unaware of how they can participate in SQA work, such as membership of committees, writing units or developing support materials.

Working with SQA is not only great CPD but many of the jobs attract a fee. We have tried to make these opportunities as transparent as possible (through this blog, e-mail lists, etc.) but the survey's results would appear to show that we need to try harder. We also try to "cast the net wide" and get a lot of people involved (rather than using the same people all of the time). Of course, we need people to volunteer before we can do that.

To address both of these issues (improve transparency and increase the number of volunteers) we will "advertise" every opportunity on Twitter. So, if you don't already do so, please follow the team on Twitter. We chose this platform because, we think, it's the one that you are most likely to use since it comes pre-installed on most smartphones and can be accessed on all sorts of devices. So, if you want to know what opportunities are available, please follow the team.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

NC Computing FAQ

I mentioned previously that we intended to create a FAQ for all new or revised qualifications. Our first FAQ was for the new Digital Passport award.

We have just completed the FAQ for the revised NC Digital Media Computing awards.

Please remember that these FAQs are temporary - to cover the period between the validation event and the award(s) becoming available to centres. Thereafter, this information (and more) will be provided via the SQA website.

If your question about the revised NCs isn't answered by the FAQ, please contact Hilary.