The NPA in Data Science has been designed to fit in flexibly to a wide variety of delivery models within schools and colleges to address the realities of staff time, expertise and enthusiasms as well as learner demand and local industry requirements.
The course can be delivered in a range of different settings and within different subject areas. In schools, it is already being delivered by CS, Maths and Geography teachers. In FE colleges, the NPA has so far been embedded into courses for Health and Social Care students and Car Mechanics students.
Data Science tools and techniques are being used in some many different fields of industry. The NPA is flexible enough that it can be taught using a wide range of examples, case studies and data sets, or it can be used to focus on a narrower field of application such as health and sports science, or geography and agriculture.
Flexible optional units
The optional unit can be selected to fit in best with the educator’s experience and interests as well as the needs of the learners. A Computing Science educator might choose to deliver the Computing Programming unit first to introduce the learners to the Python language that they can then use later in the Data Science unit. A Maths lecturer might choose to follow up the core units with the Statistics unit to develop learners’ knowledge and skills beyond the basic statistics concepts covered in the core units.
Interdisciplinary team delivery
The NPA can be taught across different departments. For example, Data Citizenship could be delivered by Geography or Modern Studies teachers, Data Science by a Science or Computing Science teacher, and Statistics delivered by the Maths faculty. This allows for more flexible timetabling based on staff availability, expertise and interests.
Engaging stand-alone units
Each of the units was written so that it could be delivered stand-alone. For example, the Data Citizenship unit could be delivered as part of a digital literacy course or an additional unit in a social studies course.
Multi-level classes are not ideal but they are a reality in many settings. The core units in the NPA have been written to aid educators who are teaching multiple levels of learners in one class. Topics can be delivered once to all learners, with some learners given some additional information or responding to assessments in more depth.
Flexibility for Level 4 learners
Level 4 only consists of two core units. This potentially gives Level 4 learners the time and space to reinforce learning by going over familiar concepts in other contexts.
Alternatively in a multi-level class, Level 4 learners could pick up an additional unit if they have extra time, such as the Level 4 units in Computing Programming or Data Security, while the Level 5 learners undertake the Level 5 equivalent.
The NPA at Level 4, with only the two core units, could slot into a timetable with a numeracy unit, such as the Numeracy Level 5 unit. This could be an attractive option for Maths departments looking for real-world maths courses that would engage learners.
The Data Security unit at Levels 5 and 6 is also part of the NPA in Cybersecurity, so learners could gain two qualifications by completing just five units. Alternatively, gaining the Statistics unit at Level 6 will also qualify learners for an Award in Statistics.
You can read more about different delivery models and planning for progression in the Educators Guide to the NPA (pages 10-12)