Gold - Unit 19 - IT User Fundamentals

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This is the ability to use suitable techniques to operate IT systems for activities, most of which are predefined', straightforward or commonly used, to respond appropriately to common IT errors and problems and review their own use of IT. Any aspect that is unfamiliar will require support and advice from others.
Software tools and techniques will be defined as ‘basic’ because:
  • The task and context will be familiar.
  • The techniques required will be commonly undertaken.
Example of context: Using a personal computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone; organising and backing up own data files.

Activities supporting the assessment of this award

Assessor's guide to interpreting the criteria

General Information

QCF general description for Level 2 qualifications

  • Achievement at QCF level 2 (EQF Level 3) reflects the ability to select and use relevant knowledge, ideas, skills and procedures to complete well-defined tasks and address straightforward problems. It includes taking responsibility for completing tasks and procedures and exercising autonomy and judgement subject to overall direction or guidance.
  • Use understanding of facts, procedures and ideas to complete well-defined tasks and address straightforward problems. Interpret relevant information and ideas. Be aware of the types of information that are relevant to the area of study or work.

  • Complete well-defined, generally routine tasks and address straightforward problems. Select and use relevant skills and procedures. Identify, gather and use relevant information to inform actions. Identify how effective actions have been.

  • Take responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance as needed.


  • Standards must be confirmed by a trained Gold Level Assessor or higher

  • Assessors must at a minimum record assessment judgements as entries in the on-line mark book on the certification site.

  • Routine evidence of work used for judging assessment outcomes in the candidates' records of their day to day work will be available from their e-portfolios and on-line work. Assessors should ensure that relevant web pages are available to their Account Manager on request by supply of the URL.

  • When the candidate provides evidence of matching all the criteria to the specification subject to the guidance below, the assessor can request the award using the link on the certification site. The Account Manager will request a random sample of evidence from candidates' work that verifies the assessor's judgement.

  • When the Account Manager is satisfied that the evidence is sufficient to safely make an award, the candidate's success will be confirmed and the unit certificate will be printable from the web site.

  • This unit should take an average level 2 learner 40 hours of work to complete.

Assessment Method

Assessors can  score each of the criteria L, S, H. N indicates no evidence and is the default starting position. L indicates some capability but secure capability has not yet been achieved and some help is still required. S indicates that the candidate can match the criterion to its required specification. H indicates performance that goes beyond the expected in at least some aspects. Candidates are required to achieve at least S on all the criteria to achieve the unit.

Expansion of the assessment criteria

1. The candidate will Use IT systems to meet a variety of needs.

1.1 I can use correct procedures to start and shutdown an IT system.

The candidate should demonstrate competence in starting up and shutting down systems taking into account passwords and PIN numbers, need to close and/or save open files, security, battery preservation, time to reboot and similar considerations.
Evidence: Observation in routine operation.  
Additional information and guidance
Candidates should be able to demonstrate that they can follow local procedures in their particular circumstances. As IT becomes mobile "on all the time" devices are becoming the norm and the situation is different from a desktop computer permanently attached to a network. Candidates should never leave devise switched on and logged in unattended for obvious security reasons. In a mixed environment where mobile technologies and more traditional desktop computers co-exist, candidates should be using the correct procedures for any of the technologies they use. 

1.2 I can select and use interface features effectively to interact with IT systems

The candidate should be confident to explore menu systems and dialogues in the context of familiar applications. They should use common keyboard shortcuts or aids to more efficient input. 

Evidence: Assessor observations.
Additional information and guidance
The exact details will depend on the particular technologies in use. Assessors should check that the candidate is using the relevant interface efficiently. For example, on desktop systems keyboard short cuts such as CTRL C, (copy) CTRL V, (paste), CTRL Z (Undo) should be a routine minimum. Typing with 2 hands at the keyboard (touch typing is not required but where feasible, should be encouraged). Mouse actions should be reasonably fluent including selecting, right clicks for menus and drag and drop. More advanced techniques such as double and triple clicking to select different items of text should be being used. Touchscreen gestures such as swiping and touch and hold should be secure in those environments. Reasonable adjustments can be applied for learners with special needs.

1.3 I can select and adjust system settings as appropriate to needs

Candidates should be able to adjust settings to customise their working environment insofar as it is relevant to their work and local requirements.
Evidence: Assessor observations from day to day work. 
Additional information and guidance
Examples might include resolution of the browser using CTRL+ and CTRL-, setting silent mode on mobile devices in group work sessions, changing the number of toolbars visible to alter the available workspace, changing background pictures or themes, implementing shortcuts to applications from the desktop. 

1.4 I can select and use a communication service to access the Internet

Candidates should be able to select and use an appropriate browser or Internet access software to support their work
Evidence: Assessor observations from day to day work
Additional information and guidance
Depending on the local environment and range of devices available, candidates should be able to show their confidence and competence with a range of devices for accessing and using the Internet.
1.5 I can use appropriate terminology when describing IT systems
Candidates should be able to demonstrate a decent working knowledge of the systems they use and be able to describe them to third parties
Evidence: Assessor observations from day to day work and e-portfolio reflections
Additional information and guidance
Candidates need to be able to talk comfortably about most of the devices and systems they use on a regular basis.  This can be reflected in work from other curriculum areas as well.

2. The candidate will manage information storage and retrieval appropriately

2.1 I can manage files and folders to enable efficient information retrieval.

Candidates should demonstrate their ability to manage their files.
Evidence: candidates' project content
Additional information and guidance
In most cases, students will need this basic skill to service in the school environment.  Some evidence will need to be seen of best practice as a badly organised file area will impede their work and experience.

2.2 I can identify when and why to use different types of storage media

Candidates should show they appreciate media fully and how and what to store different data on.
Evidence: Candidates reflections and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
Evidence here will depend on local guidelines since some schools may not allow memory sticks or access to cloud based storage systems.  Candidates should show how they manage different types of data and why.  For example, mission critical work may nee to be stored in more than once place for security reasons, whereas more informal material may not need to be stored for long.  Practices such as archiving and deleting on a time-table should also be evidenced.  Some guidance from the network team might be useful to see how large school based data sets are managed.  Students should also be made aware that data is seldom destroyed and where they delete something, it might still be in a back-up somewhere.

2.3 I can organise and store information, using general and local conventions were appropriate

Candidates' work should show an awareness for storage practices
Evidence: Candidates' documented processes and assessor feedback
Additional information and guidance
Examples might include a guide written for other learners at the centre for storage management.  They might also point to the way they organise information for their various units as part of this general qualification.
3. The candidate will follow and understand the need for safety and security practices

3.1 I can work safely and take steps to minimise physical stress

Candidates should employ safety and security features in all of their actions associated with IT.
Evidence: Candidate project outcomes.
Additional information and guidance
Most schools and colleges will have a fairly detailed AUP about safety and security and students by default should be aware of these and put them into practise.  Some additional evidence would be their own guidelines to best practise for themselves or others, perhaps in an e-portfolio or blog.  They should also evidence that they are aware of the stress that can be inflicted by badly set up or inappropriate IT resources.

3.2 I can describe the danger of computer viruses, and how to minimise risk

Candidates should produce information that is accessible and that satisfies their identified needs.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
Some description of the main characteristics of system threats and their affect here would be useful before documenting what actions can be taken.  In some cases, it may be to eliminate the risks, but in others perhaps just to limit..
3.3 I can keep information secure
Candidates need to show that they can look after the information they use and maintain.
Evidence: Candidate practical work and assessor observations of this.
Additional information and guidance
The more on-line we become, the more accessible information about us becomes.  basic practise here should be to not give information freely and always be aware of what they have published and how it is being controlled or shared.  Good password and security policies should be clearly evidenced.
3.4 I can explain why it is important to stay safe and to respect others when using IT-based communication
Candidates should show evidence of best practice principles in safety and respect of others..
Evidence: Candidate work and assessor observations.
Additional information and guidance
Basic respect will possibly evidenced elsewhere by observing copyright and not engaging in taking and using other people's work without referencing it properly.  Other safety procedures would be part of the wider practices of the centre and need to be reflected on where possible.
3.5 I can follow relevant guidelines and procedures for the safe and secure use of IT
Candidates should evidence that they understand and employ local guidelines.
Evidence: Candidate project outcomes and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
As with a number of criterion here, the evidence should be in the student's practise and can be referenced and commented on by the assessor.  Additional evidence could be produced such as an evaluation of the centre's AUP.
4. The candidate will able to maintain systems and trouble-shoot IT system problems

4.1 I can describe why routine and non-routine maintenance is important and when to carry it out

Candidates should be able to distinguish between routine and non-routine maintenance and give examples..
Evidence: Candidate documentation.
Additional information and guidance
Candidates should create a guide in conjunction with the network team to highlight the different tasks that are carried out in order to maintain the systems they use.  Examples of non-routine maintenance will probably take-place in quiet times on the systems, such as cleaning inside the machines or upgrading elements of hardware and software.  More routine actions might include applying security patches and updates to systems.  Candidates need to show that they understand the reasons clearly and can justify the actions via their understanding.

4.2 I can carry out regular routine maintenance of IT systems safely

Candidates should evidence their participation in some routine maintenance of IT systems with a focus on safety.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
Some basic safety maintenance that can be carried out routinely might be checking that cables are not interfering with people's movement around some computers or other obvious safety problems.  Some type of check-list could be designed on a rota basis in order to evidence this criterion for all learners in a group.  Candidates might also produce something for younger students to act as a guide or information point.
4.3 I can identify sources of help and how to get expert advice
Candidates should evidence their understanding of solving issues by finding someone to help them.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
No-one has the answer to everything when it comes to IT and often people specialise in certain areas only.  Candidates need to show that in some areas, where they are not sure of the solution, they know the best place to find out.  In most cases, this will be the simplest and clearest information that helps them to solve issues, rather than places to increase the depth of their knowledge as that should come later.
4.4 I can identify problems and take appropriate action
Candidates should evidence their solutions.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
Candidates are almost certain to com across problems with equipment on a regular basis.  The key thing here is that they keep a track of what they found and how they solved it as evidence.  This can be done via their blogs or e-portfolios to be consistent.  It is also good practise as it saves time looking up the same issues.  If possible, you could use a cloud based system which includes a ticket tracking element to use for evidence.  If required, TLM can provide a test system to use.

The assessor should keep a record of assessment judgements made for each candidate and make notes of any significant issues for any candidate. They must be prepared to enter into dialogue with their Account Manager and provide their assessment records to the Account Manager through the on-line mark book. They should be prepared to provide evidence as a basis for their judgements through reference to candidate e-portfolios. Before authorising certification, the Account Manager must be satisfied that the assessors judgements are sound.