Monday, 10 December 2012

Validation: Day 2

The second, and final, day of the validation event for the updated HNDs took place on Friday. The second day focused on the Technical Support and Networking awards. We also got feedback on the awards that we presented on the first day (Software Development and the generic Computing awards).

The outcome of the validation was that all of the awards were validated with several conditions and recommendations. The main conditions related to core skills (for all of the awards) and the title (of one of the awards).

The panel asked that the HND Computing award be retitled to HND Computer Science so that the title is consistent with the new Curriculum for Excellence qualifications. So, the new HNDs will now be entitled:
  1. HND Computing: Technical Support
  2. HND Computing: Networking
  3. HND Computing: Software Development
  4. HND Computer Science.
The other main condition was the inclusion of all of the core skills at SCQF Level 6. The proposed awards included most of the core skills at Level 6 but not them all. The panel asked that all of the core skills (Communication, Numeracy, IT, Problem Solving, and Working with Others) are embedded at SCQF Level 6. This will present more of a challenge to the QDT since we will have to find a way of adding Numeracy and Communication at SCQF Level 6 in all of the HNDs. But, if we can do it, this will mean that these HNDs carry more core skills than any other other HN award offered by SQA.

The were a number of other conditions relating to aims, entry requirements, professional recognition, and transitional arrangements (among others).

So, there is plenty of work ahead for the QDT. But we were happy with the outcome and think that the proposed changes will improve the new qualifications. We hope to have the conditions lifted by March next year and all of the awards available to centres from July.

Contact me if you want to know more about this validation event.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Validation: day 1

Yesterday was the first day of the two day validation event, which will examine the four HND proposals. For the sake of continuity, we used the same validation panel as we used for the HNC validation, which consisted of representatives of colleges, universities and industry.

We're looking at two awards each day:

Day 1: HND Computing and HND Computing: Software Development
Day 2: HND Computing: Technical Support and HND Computing: Networking

So yesterday we looked at Software Development and the generic Computing awards. Each of the Qualifications Leaders started the day by giving a brief description of the proposed award, together with the reasons for any changes.

We got the Panel's feedback in the afternoon. It was mostly positive. Both awards were liked but the Panel made several comments and suggestions about possible improvements to the awards.

Today we're looking at Technical Support and Networking. The QDT will get formal feedback on all four awards later today. These are expressed as "conditions" (which we must address) and "recommendations" (which we don't).

Since we are in the middle of the process right now, I don't want to write too much about the final outcomes. But it's been very constructive, and I am expecting a positive outcome, albeit with some work for the QDT to carry out.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Final preparations for validation

The team have been busy this week making final preparations for the imminent validation event for the revised HNDs.

Validations have been an important part of the qualification development process for a long time. The purpose of a validation is to carry out a final check on the proposals through a process of peer review. There are two particularly important phrases in that last sentence. The validation is a "final check". It is not meant to question the  basis of the proposed award since anything so fundamentally flawed should never be presented for validation. The other important phrase is "peer review". A validation event is a meeting of equals. It's not an inspection by one group of teachers on another.

That's not to say that a validation is a rubber stamp exercise. The panel can impose conditions and recommendations on a proposed award, and the QDT is required to address the conditions.

The members of this validation panel are typical, consisting of experienced, dedicated professionals, with a variety of backgrounds, who, together with the equally professional members of the QDT, will try to make the new awards as good as they can be.