Saturday, 17 September 2011

Drop-in event for unit writers

The first drop-in event for unit writers was held today, in the SQA offices in Glasgow.

This was an optional event for unit writers to drop in, if they wished, to get advice and support about the units that have been assigned to them. The Lead Developer (Gerry Mackie), several Qualification Leaders, a couple of External Verifiers, and Kenje Lamb, who has expertise in online assessment, were there to provide help and advice.

Several writers took advantage of the opportunity to meet their vetters face-to-face and thrash out the contents of the units.

There was lots of discussions about contents and assessment. One particularly interesting discussion related to the general approach to the assessment of knowledge. It was asked if we should recommend a default approach of using multiple choice questions with a specific pass mark, much as we do with the current HN awards. I agreed to post some advice on the unit writers' e-group about this issue.

The next event will take place on 22 October in Dundee. Contact Caroline if you want to know more about the new units.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Supporting unit writers

An essential criterion when we selected unit writers was that they had been trained in unit writing. But we also support unit writers in other ways.

Every unit has a writer and a vetter, and the new way of writing units means that writers and vetters work as a team. We also created an online group for the writers. The members of this group include vetters, External Verifiers, assessment experts and, of course, the SQA team.

We plan to provide some face-to-face support to writers by offering a couple of drop-in sessions, one in Glasgow and one in Dundee, so that the writers can come in and sit down and discuss their specific unit(s) with real people! The first drop-in event is this Saturday, in Glasgow, and the second is in Dundee on 22 October. Writers can attend either or both events (or none).

We hope that by providing a range of support services to writers that we get the best possible units.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about how the units are shaping up. I hope to share the units with you at the earliest opportunity so that you can see some of the exciting contents of the new qualifications.

Friday, 9 September 2011

What's happening now?

The main current activity is unit writing. The new frameworks involve 52 new or revised units, which is a massive undertaking to produce so many updated unit specifications. Twenty-two people, mostly practicing teachers from colleges across Scotland, are working on the units. We've organised a couple of drop-in workshops for writers, in Glasgow and Dundee on the 19 September and 22 October respectively, to provide some face-to-face help and support to the writers. There's also an online community to provide peer support throughout the writing process, and members of that community include people with expertise in traditional assessment and e-assessment.

Behind the scenes, the Lead Developer, Gerry Mackie of Dundee College, is working on the Validation Proposal Document (VPD), which pulls together all of the work that the QDT has carried out over the last year.

We plan to validate the HNC award in December and the HNDs in early 2011, so that centres can offer the new qualifications from August 2012.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about this project.