Supporting progression


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1. The differences between Entry Level, Level 1 and Level 2 performance

1.1 A general description of Bronze (Entry Level) performance

Achievement at Entry Level (Bronze) covers a range from very limited practical skills associated with the lowest attainers working under close supervision to basic capability in using common IT tools that will under-pin transition to Level 1. Entry Level is therefore about providing the scaffolding to support progression to formally recognised qualifications for those not yet ready to tackle Level 1 work directly. Entry level certificates provide the confidence to take the next steps rather than preparation for a particular job role.

1.2 A general description of Silver (Level 1) performance

Achievement at Level 1 (Silver) reflects the ability to use relevant knowledge, skills and procedures to complete routine tasks. It includes taking responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance.

1.3 A general description of Gold (Level 2) performance

Achievement at Level 2 (Gold) reflects the ability to select and use relevant knowledge, ideas, skills and procedures to complete well-defined tasks and address straight-forward problems. It includes taking responsibility for completing tasks and procedures and exercising autonomy and judgement subject to overall direction or guidance.
1.31 A key differentiator between levels is the degree of autonomy with which the learner is operating. The assessor must make a judgement about how much support the learner needs and to what extent they can take responsibility for completing tasks without excessive prompting. Using the criteria scale across levels there is some overlap with decision points at "Secure". For example, a learner could be "Lower" for both Silver and Gold but higher for Entry 3.  A Silver Learner that is "Higher" will often still be "Lower" for Gold but at some point they will reach secure Gold performance.  Assessors should discuss the assessment with learners against each of the criteria so that both agree with the decision to make a judgement of secure. In this way the learner is involved in the process and is more aware of what is expected and how to provide evidence of achievement with increasing confidence as they progress through the levels. Bronze, Silver and Gold can be used together to manage progression. A learner operating consistently higher than Gold should be provided with work towards Level 3 units to ensure that they are not just "marking time". We intend to provide Level 3 qualifications later as demand grows. Level 3 is typically the level of university entrance.
1.32 There is therefore overlap across the Bronze, Silver and Gold units. Assessors can use the on-line mark book to manage the recording of assessment in any way they want. They can record assessment in Silver and Gold units for the same learner or completely fill in all Silver units before starting on the Gold or go straight to Gold but come back to Silver if it becomes obvious that the candidate is not ready. What matters is that there is evidence that the learner can meet the criteria recorded given the guidance and general descriptions of the criteria provided. A unit can only be awarded when all the criteria are matched to "Secure" or "Higher".  A qualification can only be awarded when the minimum credit at a particular level is achieved. Other than that there is complete flexibility in approach. This enables the learning process to be "personalised" to individual learner needs and for assessment to be matched to any requirements of local systems.
1.34 The diagram below illustrates the relationship between Bronze, Silver and Gold performance.
Progression diagram for ITQ levels

2. High attainers

We want to encourage high expectation of high attainers particularly in schools. For this reason there is scope for the optional units in the Gold INGOT to be at Level 3 (university entrance).  
2.1 In the 21st Century, vocational learning needs to include preparation for change. With this in mind we recommend the use of the ITQ Specialist Software unit to assess skills that involve the problem solving and analysis. This then supports the confidence to tackle new technologies as they become available. There is support on the learning web site for a focus on Javascript which is complementary to work on web site software and collaborative technologies.  For candidates achieving level 3 units, there should be a clear outcome from the unit that is useful to other people. They should achieve a good standard of presentation with accurate use of language and communication.  They will have their learning recognised through the award of a Level 3 unit certificate. 
2.2 As an example, producing Javascript puzzles to teach something useful to peers is supported on the learning site from the games link on the resources menu. The code for the games is Open Source in keeping with the INGOT philosophy. It is explained so that a learner can find out how it works and produce further puzzles by re-using and adding to the code already available.  Learners can use the examples and documentation on the community learning site so teachers don't need to be programmers themselves. The choice of software is flexible in keeping with the concept of a specialist software unit. We are providing support for Javascript but there are other options such as Greenfoot for teaching Java programming. This might be used for those considering the transition from being an IT User to IT Professional. Here is the definition of Level 3 qualifications.
"Achievement at Level 3 reflects the ability to identify and use relevant understanding, methods and skills to complete tasks and address problems that, while well-defined, have a measure of complexity. It includes taking responsibility for initiating and completing tasks and procedures as well as exercising autonomy and judgement within limited parameters. It also reflects awareness of different perspectives or approaches within an area of study or work."
2.3 The Javascript puzzles provided on the web site are Open Source and so learners are free to take them and adapt them but their work should be their own. In keeping with Level 3 above, they should decide themselves on the purpose and nature of the puzzle they design although they may discuss ideas with their assessor and peers. They should use what they have learnt from the documentation and wider internet sources to produce a working product. They should be able to demonstrate how their work shows that they have met the assessment criteria and their evaluation should suggest different ways in which other people might be able to build on and develop their work. They should document their product so that a peer without a detailed knowledge of programming could learn how it works. They can use the forums to discuss how to do things and contribute to units for Using Collaborative Technologies. This is very much in the style of real projects that are subject to international co-operation.
2.4 In the UK, if assessors provide evidence that the learner has covered the NC programmes of study as a result of their work using the guidance and links from the assessment criteria, there is the optional TLM Gold INGOT NC certificate. We will consider any proposals for similar certification of other national systems.