The NPA in Data Science has been designed to support the development of a range of core skills in learners.  Find out more how the qualification supports learners to gain and expend their core skills in different areas.


Three young people using a laptop

Throughout the course, in all of the core and optional units, learners will develop their core skills in ICT.  Learners will search for information online in the form of datasets, tables, graphs and visualisations.  They will use software such as a spreadsheet package, a web tool such as CODAP or a programming language such as Python to interpret, manipulate, and analyse the information.  They will then create visualisations and present the information to others.


Paper with hand-drawn graphs

The two core units involve a good grounding in a range of numeracy concepts.  Learners will be looking at tabular data, analysing and creating graphical data, and producing summary statistics.  Many of the optional units will also support the development of numeracy skills, particularly the Statistics, Data Science Statistics and Data Science Project units.


Photo of a speech bubble made from paper

Communication of findings is a crucial part of the data science lifecycle in the NPA.  Learners are expected not only to gain insights from data, but to then present their findings to others.  In the Visualisation and Storytelling topic, communicating information to an audience is a key learning point.  Learners are expected to create visualisations with that audience in mind, in order to develop a persuasive argument.  

Problem Solving

Lots of hands and sticky notes with designs

Problem solving is another core component of the Data Science lifecycle, with learners encouraged to first think about the problem that needs to be solved before collecting and analysing data.  The course has been developed with the aim that learners will be solving authentic real-world problems that impact their daily lives and their communities.  As learners go through the PPDAC cycle, they will think about the Problem that needs solved, Plan their approach, gather the Data that will be required to resolve the problem, Analyse the data, and then Communicate their findings.

Working with Others

Lots of hands together

Learners will be encouraged to work co-operatively to solve problems with data.  The Data Science Project unit at Level 5 is a group project and will involve learners working in a small group to identify a problem that interests them and then plan and carry out their analysis.

You can read more about Core Skills in the NPA Data Science in the Educators Guide to the NPA (pages 13)

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