Monday, 21 November 2011

Progress update

This seems a good time to provide an update on progress.

We've been making steady progress with the awards. The frameworks have been agreed for some time, and we've spent most of the last three months writing units. This is coming along OK but, as always, it takes time to finalise such a large number of new and revised units. But most of the units are now at the validation stage, which is what me and the team are working on. The contents of the units are left to subject specialists, and the actual validation of each unit is more of a desk-check that the unit is presented correctly and uses appropriate language. Me, Caroline and Hilary are carrying out those checks now. SQA also carries out a peer review of new units, whereby another member of staff samples the units after we've validated them. There is no foolproof method of writing units, but these units have certainly been scrutinised by many people (on some occasions, as many as six people) before they will be published.

The validation event takes place on Friday, 9 December. The Lead Developer, Gerry Mackie, is busy putting together a validation proposal document (VPD) that is used at the event as the basis of discussions. Caroline has assembled a good validation panel, which consists of educationalists, employers and an SQA representative. We hope to send the VPD to the Panel members on Monday of next week to give them plenty of time to consider our proposals.

Individual units are validated separately from the group award, which is carried out at the aforementioned validation event, but the exception to that rule is the Graded Unit, which is also validated at the validation event. Janice Maxted, the Qualification Leader for the HNC award, is busy working on that unit at this time.

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

Friday, 18 November 2011

HNC Computing - Validation Event

The validation event for the HNC Computing award will take place on Friday 9th December 2011 in SQA offices, Glasgow.

We have an excellent panel on board which are well represented by FE, HE and Industry.  All members of the panel have had no involvement in the development process but have particular interest in the award from a delivery, articulation and employment perspective.

The remaining four HND Computing awards will go forward for validation in March 2012 and will be available for centres to deliver from August 2012.

We are currently in the process of validating the 52 units that have came out of the HNC/D developments and these will start to appear on the SQA website over the next couple of months.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Unit finalisation and validation meeting

I met with Gerry (Lead Developer), Caroline and Hilary this morning to discuss how we would finalise and validate the units. Units are validated separately from the group award.

This development is going to produce a large number of new and revised units. Fifty four in total. So, it's a big job to finalise the draft versions and put them through validation.

Each unit has been scrutinised by several people -- the writer, of course, but also a vetter and, usually, an External Verifier. The Qualification Leader for each award has also looked at the units in his/her award and, of course, the Lead Developer has oversight of all of the awards. So, I'm pretty confident, at the end of this process, the contents of the units (from a subject perspective) will be right.

As usual at this stage in the development the progress is mixed. We aimed to have all of the units completed by the end of October. Many units were submitted on time, but there are a number not yet complete. In these circumstances we offer the writer extra time and support, or assign a new writer to the unit.

Me, Caroline and Hilary now have to ensure that the units are OK from a technical perspective. By that I mean that the units are written correctly and reach an acceptable standard. We will do this during November. Our priority is the units in the HNC, since we are validating that award first. This month is going to be busy for us.

Contact Caroline if you want to know more about the new units in any of these awards.