ICT Qualifications review

Background

Qualifications in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) were scheduled for review in quarter one of 2013 as part of the nation-wide mandatory review of qualifications.  Currently there is a wide range of ICT qualifications with many apparently similar qualifications at the same level.  The list of qualifications that are part of this review are contained in the qualification review schedule for 2013.  If you are aware of additional qualifications that should be considered as part of the ICT qualifications review, please let us know.

The mandatory review is to reduce the duplication and proliferation of qualifications on a national scale, and to ensure that qualifications are useful, relevant and valuable to current and future learners, employers and other stakeholders.  The policy for reviews of qualifications spells out the purpose, roles and responsibilities of both NZQA and qualification developers, timeframe, costs and review process.  The questions and answers about reviews may be helpful too.

The Mātauranga Māori Evaluative Quality Assurance (MM EQA) approach enables developers and providers of Mātauranga Māori qualifications and programmes to opt-in to the MM EQA pathway.  More information is available at Mātauranga Māori Evaluative Quality Assurance.  NZQA will provide support to help interested parties make informed decisions about whether MM EQA is the right pathway for them.

The ICT qualifications review was triggered on 27 March 2013.  A review plan was prepared and submitted to NZQA Quality Assurance Division (QAD) on 27 June 2013, and it was proposed that the application to develop qualifications be prepared and submitted by 27 September 2013.  The ICT qualifications steering group requested an extension to this submission date until 14 November, which was approved.

The purpose of the review plan (PDF, 967KB) is to outline how the Mandatory Review of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) qualifications will be conducted.  It includes objectives and scope; timelines and deliverables; and an outline of the approach including roles and responsibilities, resourcing, stakeholder communication and consultation, constraints and risks, and developing the needs analysis.  A workstream and timelines chart is included as Appendix 4 for quick reference.

The Steering Group was keen to ensure that the proposed qualifications demonstrably met industry and stakeholder needs, and required the extension to the 'approval to develop' submission date to allow for further development work and appropriate consultation on the proposed qualifications.

Progress to date

Preparation for the ICT qualifications review has been underway since mid-2012.  Consultation with current owners of ICT qualifications was undertaken by NZQA QAD, and on 13 June 2012 a communication was sent to mandatory stakeholders to seek endorsement of the options for review facilitator, and proposed timing for the review to commence.

As a result it was confirmed that the review will be jointly led by the Institute of Information Technology Professionals (IITP) and National Qualifications Services (NQS).

IITP and NQS have worked together to establish the terms of reference for the working relationship for the review.  In summary, it was proposed that the IITP will manage the Steering Group which will provide Governance for the review; and NQS will manage the project and the operation of the working groups.  Further details are contained in the proposed Terms of Reference (PDF, 196KB) for the ICT qualifications review steering group.

NZQA QAD contracted Ken Simpson as an independent professional advisor to assist in the review process.  Eve McMahon, Manager - Review of Qualifications and Tertiary Moderation at NZQA notes that Ken's role, as part of the team to achieve the intent of the review, means he is able to provide advice on establishing governance and working group structures as well as recommendations for additional resources and expertise needed for the review.  Ken is also able to support the designated review leads in actively managing the review process to ensure time frames and milestones are met.

Approval to develop received

The review received 'approval to develop' the proposed suite of draft IT and computing qualifications submitted in November 2013.  The draft qualifications submitted are available below.

The evaluation review report included a range of items that needed to be considered in the next phase of development.  These included refinements to the suite of qualifications (strategic purpose statements, graduate profile outcomes, pathways), structural concerns with two of the qualifications, further evidence of consultation with stakeholders, and some other minor items.  The co-leads considered the review report, and an approach has been agreed to address the items raised and to further develop the qualifications towards listing in 2014.

Draft qualifications submitted for approval to develop November 2013

Final stages of qualification development

Working groups convened to further develop the draft qualifications in accordance with the requirements for phase 2 and the revised Working Group Brief (PDF, 1.3MB).  They met on various dates April to September 2014 with a particular focus on refining the draft qualifications and including specifications and conditions relating to the qualifications and graduate profile outcomes.  Consideration of the review report items and stakeholder feedback from last October's consultation was also included.

The Steering Group met 7 July 2014 to consider the refined qualifications before they were consulted on more widely across the sector, and on 27 August 2014 following the consultation.

Consultation on the ICT qualifications closed 21 August 2014

The Steering Group for the current nationwide review of ICT qualifications at levels 1-6 on the NZQF invited feedback on the ICT qualifications to replace current computing and IT qualifications.  The Steering Group prepared consultation documents on the draft qualifications, and invited feedback from stakeholders by Thursday 21 August 2014.

Stage two of the review process has had a particular focus on refining the draft qualifications and including specifications and conditions relating to the qualifications and graduate profile outcomes, in preparation for submitting the qualifications for 'approval to list'.

Stakeholders and interested parties have been encouraged to be involved and share their thoughts on the future of ICT qualifications in New Zealand.

Stakeholder feedback on the qualifications consultation, generally supported the draft qualifications, and supported them to be submitted for listing.  We thank all that took the time to consider the draft qualifications and provide feedback, and to the working group members that have dedicated many hours to refining the draft qualifications.

Qualifications for consideration prior to submission for 'approval to list'

The Steering Group considered the feedback at their 27 August 2014 meeting.  There were a number of concerns raised, some of these have been addressed, and some have been considered more appropriate to be dealt with as programme development issues.  All submissions were considered in detail by the project team and Steering Group.

As a result of the feedback, some changes were made to the qualifications before the proposed suite was finalised for the 'application for approval to list' stage of the review process.  A summary of Steering Group response to the key issues raised in the feedback will be made available as soon as possible.

Response to request for information (RFI) - submission for ‘approval to list’

The proposed suite of fourteen new IT and computing qualifications was submitted to NZQA Approvals and Accreditation Division for ‘approval to list a qualification’ on 22 September 2014, and allocated to an analyst on 13 November. The analyst considered the application and provided feedback on 11 December requesting additional information and some alterations to the draft qualifications.

The co-leads considered the request and agreed what needed to occur to progress the qualifications towards listing. Working groups convened between 2 and 12 February 2015 to consider the analyst feedback, and make refinements to the qualifications. The key focus was to consider:

  • the graduate profile outcomes (GPOs) and conditions and how they could be combined or conflated,
  • adjusting the GPOs to show 'to do what',
  • any refinements of the qualification conditions, including wording and approach around embedding, and the evidence requirements for assuring consistency,
  • creating the requested glossary,
  • responses to technical queries from the analyst.

The strategic purpose statements (SPSs), graduate profile outcome statements (GPOs), pathways, conditions and specifications of each qualification have been refined in response.

A response to the analyst was submitted on 3 March 2015, and some further adjustments were made prior to listing.  Following are the latest version of the qualification documents submitted for listing.

Consistency

Changes were required to the wording of the consistency arrangements in the qualification documents, to bring them in line with the newly published guidelines. The section heading has recently been changed from ‘Arrangements for managing consistency’ to ‘Evidence requirements for assuring consistency’.

The Steering Group and project team considered the proposed changes, which involved identifying the specific types of evidence that providers will need to gather and refer to in their programme development to produce evidence for assuring consistency of graduates.

The proposed consistency wording for the qualifications was refined by the working groups and has been included in the draft qualifications returned to approvals and accreditations on 2 March. There has been general endorsement of the proposed consistency wording (PDF, 153KB) for the IT and computing qualifications.

Stakeholder attestation forms (NZQF4)

As part of the review documentation requirements, stakeholders are being asked to complete a form, NZQF4: Involvement in qualification development - stakeholder attestation (DOC, 55KB).  If you have not already completed the form, we ask you to do so as soon as possible, as it is important to demonstrate evidence of input to the development of the qualifications and support for the qualification content.

The NZQF4 form is evidence that we have consulted with a wide range of stakeholders during the review process.  You may have contributed to the review in any of the ways mentioned, and/or in other ways, such as keeping track of what we are doing and approving what is being suggested without necessarily telling us.  This could be by receiving emails and/or by monitoring the review webpage.  You don't need a separate form for each qualification in the proposed ICT suite - you can just mention 'proposed ICT qualifications suite' or the title of just those you engaged with or are most relevant to your input as a stakeholder.

The completion of these forms assists us to meet the review obligations, and those received will accompany the suite of ICT qualifications submitted for 'approval to list'.

Qualification owners (NZQF6)

Information was sent to existing qualification owners about the completion of an additional form - NZQF6: Outcomes of a Qualification Review - Changing the status of current qualifications (DOC, 45KB).  We thank those that returned these forms, and we are now seeking forms from any ICT qualification owners that have not yet submitted their completed form.

The NZQF6 form asks all current owners to assess their existing qualifications in light of the new proposed qualifications, and to confirm an intention to accept the proposed new suite of qualifications as replacement(s) for existing qualifications (not immediately, but once the new qualifications are listed and appropriate transition arrangements have been put in place). A copy of the current ICT qualifications on the review schedule (XLSX, 31KB) is available for your convenience.

You may wish to consult the mandatory review guidelines around listing qualifications on the NZQF as background to this request.

Completed forms may be emailed to the ictquals.review@nzqa.govt.nz.

Consultation and Stakeholder Engagement

Consultation on draft qualifications for approval to develop

Stakeholder feedback on the draft qualifications consultation, 25 September – 16 October 2013, generally supported the draft qualifications, and supported them to be developed.  We thank all that took the time to consider the draft qualifications and provide feedback.

The Steering Group considered this feedback at their 7 November meeting.  There were a number of concerns raised, and some of these have been addressed and some have been held over as they were more appropriately considered in the next stage of development.  All submissions were considered in detail by the project team and Steering Group.

As a result of the feedback, some changes were made to the qualifications before the proposed suite was finalised for the 'application for approval to develop' stage of the review process.  A summary (PDF, 168KB) of Steering Group response to the key issues raised in the feedback includes changes to the titles of five qualifications, and a number of other issues.

The proposed suite of 14 new computing and IT qualifications was submitted to NZQA QAD for ‘approval to develop a qualification’ on 14 November 2013, and approval was granted in February 2014.

The updated needs analysis (PDF, 3.5MB), submitted in support of the application for approval to develop the proposed computing and IT qualifications, includes the addition of a summary of strategic need (Part A).

Consultation on proposed qualifications landscape

The Steering Group for the current nationwide review of ICT qualifications at levels 1-6 on the NZQF invited feedback on a proposed structure of ICT qualifications to replace current computing and IT qualifications.

Stakeholders and interested parties are encouraged to be involved and share their thoughts on the future of ICT qualifications in New Zealand and were invited to read the Draft Qualifications Landscape document and provide feedback on the landscape by 12 July.  Draft qualifications (PDF, 1003KB) were developed by working groups in July for Steering Group consideration.

The Steering Group prepared consultation documents on the draft qualifications, and invited feedback from stakeholders by 16 October 2013.  Whilst consultation has closed, the Consultation document (PDF, 581KB) and the companion document detailing all the draft ICT Qualifications (PDF, 1003KB) are still available for perusal.  We thank stakeholders for taking the time to consider the documents and provide feedback.

As a result of the feedback, some changes were made to the qualifications before the proposed suite was finalised for the 'application for approval to develop' stage of the review process.  A summary (PDF, 168KB) of Steering Group response to the key issues raised in the feedback includes changes to the titles of five qualifications, and a number of other issues.

Once approved, the new qualifications will replace all other level 1-6 IT-related qualifications currently on the Framework.

The Steering Group prepared an IT industry consultation document regarding an initial set of roles that might be suitable for those on an educational/industry pathway that includes IT qualification levels covered by this review.  The IITP website contains futher information and links to the consultation document and the survey form for submitting views.   This survey was aimed at the IT industry, not at providers of qualifications, and was designed to ensure that the new qualifications will be developed to meet industry needs now and into the future.  This was a short consultation, closing 7 June 2013.

A provider survey was also undertaken April/May 2013, and we thank those that have responded.

There will be further consultation opportunities to provide feedback as the review progresses.

Stakeholder attestation forms (NZQF2)

As part of the review documentation requirements, stakeholders were asked to complete a form, NZQF2: Involvement in pre-development stage - stakeholder attestation (DOC, 50KB) and return it to us by 11 November 2013.

The NZQF2 form is evidence that we have consulted with a wide range of stakeholders during the review process. You may have contributed to the review in any of the ways mentioned, such as being involved in work groups, confirming need for the qualifications, providing feedback to consultations etc; and/or in other ways, such as keeping track of what we are doing and approving what is being suggested without necessarily telling us. This could be by receiving emails and/or by monitoring the review webpage.

You don't need a separate form for each qualification in the proposed ICT suite - you can just mention 'proposed ICT qualifications suite' or the title of just those you engaged with or are most relevant to your input as a stakeholder.

The completion of these forms assists us to meet the review obligations, and those received accompanied the draft suite of ICT qualifications that were submitted for 'approval to develop' on 14 November 2013.  We will now submit any further forms as they are received.

Qualification owners

Information has been sent to existing qualification owners about the completion of an additional form - NZQF6: Outcomes of a Qualification Review - Changing the status of current qualifications (DOC, 45KB). If you are a qualification owner and haven't received the message, please let us know as soon as possible.

The NZQF6 form asks all current owners to assess their existing qualifications in light of the new proposed qualifications, and to confirm an intention to accept the proposed new suite of qualifications as replacement(s) for existing qualifications (not immediately, but once they go through the approval to develop phase and the subsequent further refinement and development before listing as new qualifications; and appropriate transition arrangements have been put in place).

A copy of the current ICT qualifications on the review schedule (XLS, 200KB) is available for your convenience.

You may wish to consult the mandatory review guidelines around listing qualifications on the NZQF as background to this request.

Completed forms may be emailed to the ictquals.review@nzqa.govt.nz.

Working Groups

On behalf of the Steering Group for the ICT qualifications review, NZQA National Qualification Services called for expressions of interest for the working groups to develop the proposed landscape of ICT qualifications by 5 July 2013.

The ICT review working groups are expected to:

  • develop New Zealand qualifications, in accordance with the advice and working brief provided by the ICT qualifications review Steering Group;
  • provide feedback on the draft qualifications to the Steering Group;
  • adjust the draft qualifications, following sector feedback, where appropriate;
  • prepare the qualifications for Stage One of the review: Application for Approval to Develop a Qualification.

The working groups met late July and may be required to reconvene in August to further develop the proposed qualifications.

Following consultation on the proposed ICT qualifications landscape which closed 12 July 2013, a working group brief (PDF, 880KB) was prepared incorporating Steering Group direction following the feedback from the consultation on the proposed ICT qualifications landscape.  Working groups were convened late July to develop the draft qualifications and one work group was reconvened 3-4 September to undertake additional development work.  Thank you to all who made themselves available to be involved and contribute to the development of the new qualifications. 

Needs analysis

One of the crucial documents that need to be prepared is a needs analysis.  The needs analysis has been compiled to inform the decisions of the Steering Group when designing the future range of ICT qualifications.  This is a living document and has been added to as the review progressed.

There has been investigation and analysis to quantify need in terms of supply and demand, both existing and with a future focus.  This document has gathered and presented background research and data on the ICT sector, and identified competencies expected of a graduate of the proposed range of ICT qualifications.  The conclusions reached highlight the strategic need for ICT qualifications and specific needs of learners and employers. 

The updated needs analysis submitted in support of the 'application for approval to develop' the proposed ICT qualifications included the addition of 'part A' summary of strategic need for proposed computing and IT qualifications.

We welcome your input, and if you have anything further you would like to contribute to the needs analysis, please contact us at your earliest convenience.  It would be great to have your input as soon as possible so that it can inform the decision making and development of qualifications, although we welcome your contributions at any stage of the process.

Governance - Steering Group

The first meeting of the Steering Group was held on 9 April 2013 in Wellington, and the Steering Group met by teleconference on 22 May to finalise a proposed industry survey on the needs of the IT sector, and the likely current and future roles that graduates of IT qualifications at level 1 to 6 of the NZQF may fulfil.  The survey link was distributed via several industry mailing lists, such as IITP's and other participating associations.

The Steering Group met on Tuesday 11 June 2013, in Wellington.  The meeting considered drafts of:

  • the ICT Qualifications Review Plan (to be lodged with NZQA by 27 June), outlining the process and planning for the review;
  • the needs analysis, outlining evidence-based industry needs from research, surveys and other resources;
  • a draft ‘landscape’ of proposed IT qualifications, and stakeholder consultation proposed for the second half of June;
  • the formation of, and guidance to, working groups;
  • feedback from the industry consultation; and
  • next steps, including stakeholder communication and consultation.

The Steering Group met on 18 July to consider the feedback to the draft ICT qualifications landscape consultation, and to determine any changes required before the working group brief was finalised.

The Steering Group met on 14 August to consider the draft qualifications developed by the working groups and next steps in the process.  They determined that further work was required for some of the proposed qualifications, and a work group is being reconvened 3-4 September to undertake the additional work.

The Steering Group considered the draft qualifications at an 18 September teleconference meeting.  The main agenda item was to consider the draft qualifications that the working groups have developed and endorse documentation for consultation.

The next meeting of the Steering Group was held 7 November 2013 and considered feedback from the consultation on draft qualifications.  The main purpose of the meeting was to consider the feedback and make any changes required before the proposed suite was finalised for the 'application for approval to develop' stage of the review process.

The Steering Group and review team is very keen to get as broad input into the new qualifications as possible.  All documents will be made available to all stakeholders as soon as they’ve been considered by the Steering Group and we aim to consult widely.  A copy of the proposed qualifications submitted for 'application for approval to develop' is now available.  Further development work will be undertaken to refine the qualifications in the next stage, once approval to develop is granted.

Formation

It is important to have strategic leadership and direction, and an effective decision making structure for a review.  It was proposed a Steering Group be established to provide this for the review and development of ICT qualifications.

The proposed composition of the Steering Group was for 10 people from a range of ICT-related groups.  Each group was asked by IITP to nominate individuals for the Steering Group.

  • 1 IITPNZ Nominee (Chair)
  • 1 NZQA NQS Nominee
  • 4 Industry Nominees (2 from industry bodies such as NZICT, NZRise or SoftwareNZ, and 1 each from tertiary provider groups CITRENZ and NZAPEP [now ITENZ])
  • 3 Educational Provider Nominees (from CITRENZ, NZAPEP [now ITENZ] and Te Wānanga o Aotearoa)
  • 1 ICT Teacher Nominee (from NZACDITT)

Further detail on the expected knowledge and expertise of steering group members, the selection process, responsibilities etc is contained in the proposed Terms of Reference (PDF, 196KB) for the ICT qualifications review steering group.

Nominations for the Steering Group were called for from a range of ICT-related groups.  Each group was asked by IITP to nominate individuals for the Steering Group, and the following members have been appointed.

Nominating Organisation

Name and organisation

IITP NZ (Chair)

Paul Matthews, IITP

Industry nominees (4):
Software NZ

NZRise
CITRENZ
NZAPEP (now ITENZ)


Gareth Cronin, Wynyard Group (previously with Orion Health)
Mindi Clews, Equinox Ltd
John Ascroft, Jade Software Corporation
Jacob Samuel, Concerto Networks

Educational Provider Nominees (3):
CITRENZ
NZAPEP (now ITENZ)

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa


Samuel Mann, Otago Polytechnic
Margie Sorensen, Information Technology Training Institute – ITTI
Damian Adamski, TWOA

NZACDITT - ICT Teacher Nominee

John Creighton, Burnside High School

NZQA – NQS

Rod Bentham, NZQA – NQS

 

A brief introduction on members is available in the minutes (PDF, 381KB) of the first Steering Group meeting.

 
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