Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Update letters

I asked the admin team to send out two update letters on Friday: one for non-advanced awards and one for advanced awards. They contain important information about changes to vocational Computing awards.

The non-advanced letter includes information about new National Units, new group awards (such as NPA Digital Passport) and changes to existing awards (such as PC Passport).

The advanced letter includes information new Higher National Units and details about new and revised awards at SCQF Levels 7 and 8.

There's nothing in either letter that readers of this blog will not already know but for those who don't regularly read this blog they contain vital information about changes to qualifications, including important dates.

The letters will be sent to centres on Thursday, as part of SQA's normal (electronic) weekly update (via your SQA Co-ordinator), so look out for them shortly after that.

Friday, 26 September 2014

Aspect report for Computing

I've previously mentioned the Aspect report for Computing. The final version was published this morning. The report can be downloaded here [PDF]. I haven't had time to read this version but I was privvy to a late draft version, which was much more positive than the previous report (2009).

These subject-based Aspect reports are important. They provide an objective measure of teaching, learning and acheivement in a subject context. So, there is a lot to be taken from them. From SQA's perspective, I will go through the report to see what we can do to address the issues that are identified. One springs to mind immediately. The first recommendation is "to establish clearly the place of mathematics in computing programmes" and that is something that SQA can contribute to. I'm sure that we will be able to help in lots of ways.

I think that the sector will be pleased with the report. It makes much better reading than the previous one, and highlights many of the improvements that have taken place since then. Everyone with an interest in computing in Scottish colleges should read this report.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Digital evidence

SQA's vision is to "digitally transform" over the coming years, and we are currently looking for examples of good practice within centres. We're specifically looking for examples of where you have used digital approaches to the generation of evidence. For example, you may have used a blog to record learner activity and used that as evidence for a unit. We'd like to know the name of the qualification, the nature of the assessment, and how you (digitally) went about it. Please contact me if you have any examples.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Sector Panel

The Sector Panel for Computing met today. The Panel meets once per year and its purpose is to provide guidance about external developments. The members include representatives of schools, colleges, universities, training providers, employers, national organisations and professional bodies.

There was a good attendance today and a busy agenda, which included a discussion about the recently published report entited "Education Working for All" and soon to be published Aspect report on Computing. We were particularly fortunate to have HMIE Sheila Page attend the meeting to give members a preview of the forthcoming Aspect report (which will be published this Friday).

The Panel is not a talk-shop. We agreed on a number of actions today that we will take forward over the coming months. One of these actions will be to explore subject areas that are not well covered by the current portfolio of awards, such as software testing and data security.

We would like to increase the school and employers representation on the Panel so please contact Caroline if you are interested in participating.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Review of HNC/D Interactive Media

As you may know, we are currently revising HNC/D Interactive Media. The Qualification Design Team (QDT) met for the first time on Friday. The QDT is responsible for all aspects of the development. I chair the group. The QDT has representatives of various Scottish colleges (including City of Glasgow, Fife, Ayrshire and New College).

It was a positive and productive meeting. There was a lot of agreement about the changes that need to be made. And one in particular - that the focus should be on web development. In fact, a title change to HNC/D Web Development is a possibility. But no-one wanted major changes. The current course was dated but still popular "with great job prospects" as one of the members pointed out. So, it will be a clear evolution from what we have.

We're looking for more representation from universities and employers so if you know anyone who could help please let Caroline know.

We're not sure about timescales for this development but it's like to be available to centres from January 2016. Contact Caroline for more information about the development or to join the team.

Friday, 12 September 2014

NC Computing with Digital Media

I received notification yesterday that the Group Award Specifications for the National Certificate in Computing with Digital Media are now available on the SQA website. The Specifications can be found on the non-advanced Computing page or you can access them individually at these links:
  1. NC Computing (Level 4)
  2. NC Computing (Level 5)
  3. NC Computing (Level 6).
The support materials for these awards are available on SQA Secure.

Please note the change in title. The previous award was called Digital Media Computing. This one is called Computing with Digital Media. But, I suspect, it might simply be called Computing in practice.

My apologies for the lateness in publishing these documents. I know some of you are offering these awards this year and have had to contact Hilary directly for this information. Please contact Hilary if you require any help or assistance with these awards.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Operational plan

The team's operational plan is our work plan for the year. It defines what we aim to do during the current financial year (April to March). There are two ways for a development to get onto the plan: one way is for the qualification to be due a review (normally every five years); the other way is when a business case has been made and approved. The starting point for many new developments is the ideas capture form.

My current operational plan has a number of developments on it. These include:
  • review of NPA Digital Literacy
  • review of PC Passport
  • review of HNC/D Computer Games Development
  • review of HNC/D Interactive Media
  • review of HNC/D Information Technology.
There are a number of smaller developments too, such as the new big data units.

We're at various stages in these developments but most are at relatively early stages (some have not commenced). We're always looking for people to get involved, so please contact Hilary if you are interested in the Digital Literacy or PC Passport reviews or contact Caroline for the HN developments.