Educators interested in offering the National Progression Award (or NPA) in Data Science often wonder about how assessment works for NPA qualifications, and for the NPA Data Science specifically.
NPAs are available in a variety of subject areas and assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas. Learners demonstrate their knowledge and understanding by internal assessments throughout the course. Practical skills are assessed by performing a practical assessment rather than by using a written final exam.
This NPA in Data Science is available at three levels, SCQF levels 4, 5 and 6. Learners can progress through the levels of the National Progression Award. If they wish to continue learning about Data Science, they can undertake the Professional Development Award (PDA) in Data Science at SCQF Levels 7, 8 and 9 at a Further Education College or apply for one of the many degree programmes available in Universities across Scotland.
Centres can set their own assessments for their learners, if they choose. This should be done by following the evidence requirements information in the Unit Specification documents, and centres should get any assessments reviewed by the SQA prior to use.
However, most centres will prefer to use the assessment materials that have been created for the core units at all three levels. These are available through the SQA’s SOLAR system.
The assessments for the NPA in Data Science are a mix of computer-based project assessments and computer-based tests that are dynamically generated from a bank of questions (for Level 4 and 5 these are all automatically marked.)
This project assessment supports digitally submitted evidence that is tutor-marked online through Solar using associated marking schemes. This is an e-portfolio approach where candidates can access their project multiple times over a set period to upload their evidence.
You can read more about assessment in the Educators Guide to the NPA (pages 16-17)