Higher Qs & Responses SQA

  • Darren Brown

    There were a number of very late changes applied to the content table for National 4/5 Computing Science which had a fairly significant impact on staff for the delivery of the course. Can you tell me, even approximately, when the content table for Higher (contained on Page 13-18 of the Course Support Notes) is to become a final finished document?
    For the query about content table changes, I don’t have a definite answer – whilst we would want to limit the amount of change, I can’t be certain of when it will be finalised.

    With it being a new course, there are topics referred to in the course content for which staff are not completely familiar. Is there going to be exemplification of how to teach the specific content of the Higher course and, if so, when will this be published.
    Exemplification of how to teach… – this one wouldn’t be us. We’ll produce the Unit Assessment Support Packs, the Specimen Question Paper and the Course documents but anything related to learning and teaching would sit with Education Scotland. That aside, I know that there is a group called Sicsa ([www.sicsa.org.uk]www.sicsa.org.uk) (I was at a meeting with them yesterday about something else) and they were advising that funding had been acquired for professional development for Computing Science teachers. They have plans to form networks of professionals and to try to have university links around the country – karenpetrie@computing.dundee.ac.uk, was the person chairing the meeting so she may be worth contacting to see where they are with this.

    Computing teacher’s in Highland are very concerned about Public Service Network regulations pertaining to what we are able to run in schools. We feel there is a real risk that this could impact on whether pupils are able to cover the content of the Higher course. For example, we tried to get “10 Priority Pieces of Software”, which are free, installed on all Computing Room PC’s in Highland for the delivery of the National 4/5 course but were successful in only getting 6. The remainder were rejected for security reasons at Authority level above our IT contractor. Are SQA aware of this situation and can you offer any advice or guidance to ensure a seamlessly transition to Higher?
    The final point is, I’m afraid, another that we have no say in. All I could suggest is trying to argue that specific pieces of software are essential to allow you to deliver the Computing Science Courses and that this is no different to not having suitable CAD software in graphic communication/ tools for practical metalworking/ cookers in home economics etc. I know that most local authorities have managed networks and that, dependent on how this is managed, it is more or less troublesome to have requirements met.

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