Our Technologies curriculum development officer in the region has been chasing answers for a while now about more info on the short theory statements, I’ll post the document returned into N5 Computing Science group.
More of a concern is for over a year now we have been asking if a N5 Coursework Project can be used to pass the N4 Added Value Unit.
The answer seems to be no – http://www.sqa.org.uk/files_ccc/Recognising_Positive_Achievement_N4N5.pdf
With bi-level teaching, pressure to do 2 prelims – give pupils more chance, the coursework now worth more (40%), SQA level decisions much earlier…. to me it seems a necessity.
The SQA seem to suggest either do both Projects (I have no time – Computing only starts in S3) or if a pupil fails N5 the can do the N4 Project some time later (when? The pupils will have moved on a year).
Anyone else feel this is quite important?
I was at the implementation event for Computing Science in Stirling and the answer from Education Scotland was quite clearly – No.
Pupils have to do the added value unit from N4 if they are doing N4 and Coursework if they are doing N5. If a kid has N5 all the way through and then fails a prelim, for example, and you drop them to N4 they still have to do the N4 added value although the course unit passes will roll back from N5 to N4. This is what we were told at the event. I was told the same for Business Management so this seems to be the position across the board.
Cat amongst the pigeons here…
I was at the implementation event for Computing Science in Glasgow and the answer wasn’t quite so equivical!
To the straight question “can the N5 coursework count as N4 added value” the answer was “no”. But then someone looked more closely at the specimen N5 coursework and the requirements for the N4 added value and asked how on earth a pupil who had achieved the N5 coursework could possibly be said not to have met the requirements for N4. That was when things got a bit murkier!
Those running the event pointed out that the N5 coursework is marked and N4 added value is pass/fail on four learning outcomes. It could therefore be possible (in theory) for a pupil to get 50% for the N5 coursework and pass it at N5 by achieving full marks for analysing and designing a solution and zero marks for implementing and testing (or similar, obviously depending on the specific marking scheme). But, if a pupil had done this, they would not have passed all the individual criteria laid out and so they couldn’t be said to have completed the requirements of the added value unit at N4.
However, IF you could show that, in achieving an N5 coursework pass, the pupil had ALSO passed each of the individual criteria laid out for N4 then those running the event in Glasgow admitted that they could see no reason (at least not as things currently stand) why the N5 coursework couldn’t be submitted as evidence of N4 added value.
It’s particularly helpful that they seem to be saying different things to different groups of people…
I don’t particulalry think we were told different things. In both cases they are basically saying no, they’d prefer you to use the assessment material provided for each level.
We were also told that if you don’t used the bank of assessment materials for the assigned level then whatever you did use would need to be verified before it was valid. This would mean getting the N5 coursework task verified as valid for N4 added value or any other assessment task you chose to use.
I can see the outcomes for N4/5 are different but the major contradiction for me is how can it be the N5 Unit Assessments filter down to cover N4 automatically when they also have different outcomes. Is it not that the N5 unit assessments
and project are more difficult so should both automatically cover N4?
We put forward a pupil getting 50% in the N5 Project should be a pass at N4 Added Value Unit. There was talk that the SQA may map N5 projects in choice bank to N4 to check it covers the Added Value Unit?
As far as I know there will be no bank of projects for N4, anyone confirm? I have seen the document on the Education Scotland materials (Environmental and Weather projects). Are we supposed to use these at N4, create our own or even let the pupils all do their own chosen project? This seems silly if there will be a bank of N5 projects sitting there.
Call me cynical but the document I hyperlinked above mentions the words “charges” and “costs” a fair bit. Are they hoping we have to pay for a bunch of pupils to attempt N5 then re-pay later to enter them again for N4?
Sorry I’m still on this… What would be the cut off for failing the prelim and dropping to N4? The coursework is now worth 40% I believe (90 mark exam, 60 mark project).
My average score for Higher coursework in the last few years is 42 marks. Now if I move this to National 5 as a conservative estimate of a project score then the average pupil would only need 33/90, 37% to pass the N5 course. Potentially a pupil may only need 15/90, 17% in the exam with full marks coursework (quite possible at N5). It is difficult to be sure of levelling before the prelim is done and the N5 project is taking shape.
When do i do my prelim? I feel it needs to be at the end of January so I can start the project. My school are big on giving pupils as much chance as possible (pupil’s human rights and more demands from parents). We are doing second prelims in some instances in March before final course levels are entered. This all adds to my problem of not having time to do the N4 Added Value Unit project as well.
I would assume you take the same tack as for any pupil who is not achieving at the expected level and drop them down. For the majority of kids there will have been evidence all the way along that they are not performing at the required level, class work, homework, end of topic tests, unit assessments, etc. that will provide evidence for the school and parents. I intend to take that and a failed prelim with normal SQA cut off scores and use all of that as my evidence for dropping from N5 to N4. All of that is as we would have done before, tricky part is when you get a kid that has passed everything in class and then fails the N5 prelim or worse the actual exam.
It was suggested, at implementation event, that we might want to do both added value and assignment with all pupils – but I think time, for me anyway, will be too tight and I’ll need to have the prelim first and then on the strength of that and my other generated evidence decide who sits what. I therefore would like the prelim done before I start on AV or assignment.
We were also told at the event that there was a 3 month window after the exam to get a kid who failed N5 exam to sit N4 AV unit and submit this to get them the N4 award.
My school is also really keen on as many through N5 as possible and it being left to the second year of the course to decide on this, thus giving as many as possible the chance to get N5.
Not sure I’ve got any more that you but it is a concern about timing and cut offs and in general just getting levels right for kids that are not clearly N4 or N5.
N4 Added Value Unit assignment has appeared early on SQA secure. A table tennis game (probably Scratch) and a very basic 2 web pages.
It looks to me that the outcome and generic evidence for N4 could be easily covered by a N5 project but again it clearly says “You must use an SQA assessment to assess this unit.” Sadly I don’t think they mean N5 project but have to use this one or I presume other N4 level that will be provided.
I’m quite gutted at the Added Value and Nat5 Coursework tasks. Our S2 pupils have been creating their own ‘pong’ games in scratch. I don’t believe they’re ahead of their time in doing so either. Can’t continue with that wee gem now can we? Kids loved it. Shame.
Disappointed with the Nat 5 coursework too.
Are we really going to produce better Computing Scientists at the end of this?
Exchanging Emails with my probationer at the moment. She says…
“The SQA need to step it up a bit or kids will start to get bored…in a subject that is far from boring.”
I would argue that it is the teacher’s job to make the lessons and the course interesting. The pupils are not going to be enthused and inspired about a subject by the added value unit or assignment alone, any more than they would be by an exam.
They will be however, by teachers bringing in their own experiences, stories, and enthusiasm about a subject that now acknowledges modern technology, not just traditional computers, and teaches pupils about computational thinking. A very valuable skill for the 21st century.
From a query to my local SQA liason:
>- In Computing Science, there will be one N4 Added Value Unit assessment pack published at the end of April 2013 and another two (thus giving a choice of three to use) before the Courses go live in August 2013.
>- In Computing Science, there will be one N5 Course assignment pack published at the end of April 2013 and another two (thus giving a choice of three to use) before the Courses go live in August 2013.
>- Although the first pack produced doesn’t do this, we are trying to have the task at N4 (Added Value) and N5 (Course assignment) to be the same as this should aid bi-level delivery and make it easier for centres to address candidates who are not doing well with the N5 Course assignment (ie, the work that they have done could be re-assessed relative to the assessment standards of the N4 Added Value Unit – there wouldn’t be a minimum mark in the N5 Courses assignment that would equate to a pass at the N4 added value Unit if the tasks were the same).
>Engineering & Maths
So the next 2 AVU/Projects from SQA should allow bilevel assessment, with two marking schemes rather than a cut-off for N4/N5
That sounds great, exactly how it should be. Thanks Peter, you have made my day – I’ve been pushing this for the last 2 years.
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