FROM CAREER GUIDANCE TODAY: AN INDEPENDENT PUBLISHING MAGAZINE

GNVQ New Alternatives

The Gnvq in ICT has come to an end, so what's next? Introduced in 2004, Edexcel's Diploma in Digital Applications (DiDA) is just one option. From September 2006, the Oxford, Cambridge and RSA's (OCR) revised Level 2 Nationals in ICT, which has now officially been accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA); and iMedia, has been available to schools seeking an alternative to the GNVQ.

Recognising the need to have a GNVQ replacement qualification, we volunteered to become an Edexcel DiDA pilot centre. DiDA sounded exciting but in practice we found its student tasks - Summative Project Briefs (SPBs) - were too difficult for most students. Nearly all struggled with the volume of assessment evidence required. Most schools offering DiDA have now realised that it is unrealistic to expect students to complete the four GCSE model in two years and will offer either the Award (one unit) or the Certificate (two units) from September.

My main concern with DiDA is its assessment framework. Students must create digital documents/products that are fit for a specific audience and grading is determined by how well a student can structure the digital document, compose relevant content and use appropriate language. This means a disproportionate amount of lesson time is spent on developing content, rather than higher level ICT skills. To achieve quick, simple solutions to SPB activities, most schools avoid using time-consuming professional, creative applications. The Adobe Associate Certificate attached to DiDA has not been taken up as most schools have failed to gain the teacher expertise required to deliver the tasks.

Edexcel continues to fine-tune DiDA. SPBs released from September 2005 onwards will now be valid for four moderation windows, giving students another chance if they fail. We believe DiDA is best suited to students who have good ICT and literacy skills, can work independently and are able to manage large-scale projects.

More recently, OCR has produced two exciting qualifications: the revised Level 2 Nationals in ICT and iMedia. Lewisham CLC is preparing teachers from a number of local schools to launch these qualifications in September 2006.

The Nationals in ICT were developed in collaboration with IT professionals and are relevant to today's workplace. Centres can pick and choose from 23 units to combine into a one, two, three or four GCSE qualification, offering flexibility in matching the course to the student. The qualification provides an even coverage of ICT skills related to the business, technical and creative industries.

Each unit in the Nationals in ICT focuses on one generic application area. Students concentrate on one software package at a time. It is also possible to gather chosen units under an umbrella assignment to avoid duplication of work. The advantage of the Nationals is that students can progress through a common path with stop-off points at which they can claim GCSE units. So, highly motivated students can progress through the four GCSE model, whereas another student may stop at one GCSE.

The Nationals' assessment framework clearly sets out what is expected in terms of ICT skills, and uses the fit-for-audience criteria as a way of distinguishing between pass and distinction levels. The qualification is 100 per cent coursework and schools can submit assignments in either a digital- or paper-based format.

Addressing a creative skills gap, newcomer OCR iMedia has been backed by the creative sector and gaming industry. iMedia is available at Levels 2 and 3 and is also 100 per cent coursework. Assessment takes the form of practical activities which are locally assessed by the school and externally moderated by OCR. Schools can use either an assignment set by OCR or one that has been devised locally.

IMedia is seen as the creative qualification that gives students the right skills for jobs as web designers, graphic artists, multimedia producers, animators, sound designers and editors, video producers and games designers. It has an excellent assessment framework, is simple to use and acts as a checklist for the student.

The new breed of GNVQ alternatives are all well worth exploring. Although DiDA is best suited to students who can work on their own initiative and already possess sound ICT and literacy skills, the Nationals and iMedia suit students with a variety of skill levels and give UK students the credentials necessary to maintain our footing as a global leader in the IT and creative industries.

Zali Collymore-Hussein is the centre manager at Lewisham City Learning Centre (CLC). Lewisham CLC can offer hands-on support to teachers for the three qualifications discussed in the article, and you can contact Zali on 020-8699 2529 or at zalihe@lewisham-clc.org.uk

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE £45K: SThree: At SThree, we like to be differe...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant Bristol

£18000 - £23000 per annum + + uncapped commission + benefits: SThree: Did you ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + benefits + uncapped commission: SThree: Did you kn...

Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence