Dear West College Scotland Student
Since our campus closures last month, we know you may be wondering about how you can progress and achieve your course.
All colleges have agreed to work together under a single set of guidelines and have issued some frequently asked questions (FAQs) as shown below. We hope these help answer some of your questions and address any concerns that you may have. Our aim is to help you, along with your fellow students across Scotland, to continue your learning and to achieve your qualification this year, if possible.
The SQA have agreed that colleges will be able to take a holistic approach, where necessary, in determining passes and grades. This will enable lecturers and course teams to use their professional judgement to assess other learner evidence, including knowledge of students’ progress and achievements to date.
The SQA and Colleges Scotland issued a Joint Statement last week and, on the 3 April, each college was provided with additional guidance materials from SQA. We appreciate that you will have questions about these arrangements. Your lecturers will be able to provide answers to these questions after the Spring Break, once they have worked through the guidance arrangements for each different subject area.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Q Why has it taken so long to get information on how to progress?
A You may have noticed a period directly after the colleges closed where progress was limited. You may feel you have not received much information or guidance. This was because SQA, individual colleges and Colleges Scotland were working together to agree the best arrangements for you to continue your studies successfully. It is important that the same opportunities are offered to all students, across Scotland, who are also undertaking your qualification.
Q How will my learning continue?
A You have been asked to study at home and interact with the college and your lecturers remotely. These arrangements do not signal an end to your learning journey this session. Teaching will still take place, albeit often in a different way to that you may have been used to. You are encouraged to keep learning if you can.
Q What happens if I need more flexibility in my studies?
A We understand your personal circumstances may impact if, when, and how well, you can continue to engage in your studies. If you are having difficulty or finding you cannot complete work you are being set, you should let your lecturer or someone else in the college know as soon as possible.
Q What if I can’t access my programme materials?
A If you are having difficulty in getting access to learning materials, through your mobile phone or do not have access to a computer, please inform your lecturer. We will make every effort to take a holistic view of your progress to date and may ask that some additional evidence is undertaken in a different format, either now or once things return to normal. For those students who find it impossible to further engage in their learning, you must let us know as soon as you can.
Q What will happen with any practical assessments that I should have taken as part of my course?
A We know that not all courses and learning activities can be done online or remotely. Your lecturer or CQL will let you know what changes they have made to your assessments to let you complete as much as possible. For example, you may submit written assignments electronically, complete some practical assignments at home and send a self-video to your lecturer or have an online discussion about a piece of work you submitted.
Q My course requires a health and safety demonstration, or a placement work to be signed off. How can I do this?
A There are a few programmes that will require students to return to college to complete. These are courses with specific Health and Safety competencies which must be assessed, where there is a high level of practical skills development and testing, where qualifications are regulated (SVQ qualifications), where there are mandatory work placement hours to be completed, or where completion of an award provides entry to a professional organisation. We will let you know if you are required to return and we will discuss the arrangements for this with you, once the current period of uncertainty is over. In the meantime, you should continue to do, and submit, work as instructed to minimise the amount you must do later.
Q Why do I need to still undertake assessments?
A Although face-to-face learning and teaching has stopped, arrangements have been made in many areas for learning to continue remotely to enable you to complete your course successfully, despite the very challenging conditions we are all experiencing currently. Continuing to engage in assessment opportunities will ensure that you have comprehensive assessment evidence. Staff will review this to decide on a result for you.
Q Shouldn’t all students just pass the course? It isn’t our fault we can’t continue as normal.
A It is vital that any award made is supported by a rigorous and fair assessment process. The college recognises the challenge and frustration experienced by our students and is working hard to support you and to ensure that your hard work and achievement is rewarded.
Q How will my course result be determined?
A College staff are experienced and will use all the available assessment evidence you have submitted, as well as course work you have undertaken, to assess whether you have met the course aims. Using this evidence, and their knowledge of your engagement and progress, they will holistically estimate your individual success.
Q I have additional support needs. What does all of this mean for me?
A Staff have flexibility to adjust the assessment and make it accessible for you. Staff will still work in partnership to support you. College student support services are still operating to aid you. We may suggest, for example, the use of professional discussion instead of a written exercise if you normally require a scribe.
Q I am on a full time SCQF Level 4, 5 or 6 course. Will I be able to complete this by June 2020?
A If you have been progressing so far with your units, keeping up with work and staying in contact with us, then there is every chance you will be successful and finish the whole course. You will get recognition for any assessments you have completed, and all work you have done and continue to do this session. We will take account of all circumstances and support you in moving on to the next level of study, if this is what you had planned to do.
Q I have a conditional offer from university and my HN Graded Units will be impossible to complete.
A Where it is not possible to complete the HN Graded Unit (for example because you have no access to necessary resources or equipment) staff will use any Graded Unit work completed to date plus a range of other assessment evidence from other units you have already completed, to predict and award a grade, where it is possible to do so. This will depend on how much evidence is available for you and on the quality of that. You may be asked to do some further work to help support this process.
Q I haven’t been able to fully achieve my course because there was not enough assessment evidence. How and when will I be able to complete any units that I did not get awarded?
A Where you have not achieved your award and this is considered a direct result of the impact of college closure, your entry can be left open and you should be given the opportunity to engage in further learning and assessment in the future.