Schools ITQ Level 1 - 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 1 qualifications

  • Achievement at QCF level 1 (EQF Level 2) reflects the ability to use relevant knowledge, skills and procedures to complete routine tasks. It includes responsibility for completing tasks and procedures subject to direction or guidance.
  • Use knowledge of facts, procedures and ideas to complete well-defined, routine tasks. Be aware of information relevant to
    the area of study or work

  • Complete well-defined routine tasks. Use relevant skills and procedures. Select and use relevant information. Identify whether actions have been effective.

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


  • Standards must be confirmed by a trained Silver 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 1 learner 30 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 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 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 developed. 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 adjust system settings to meet individual 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 use a communication service to access the Internet

Candidates should demonstrate how to use the local systems to access the Internet
Evidence: Assessor observation
Additional information and guidance
Evidence here could come from other units such as using e-mail, but should essentially show that students know what application to use in order to complete an internet based task.

2. The candidate will organise, store and retrieve information efficiently

2.1 I can work with files and folders so that it is easy to find and retrieve information.

Candidates should demonstrate capabilities of organising and retrieving their work.
Evidence: Candidate reflections and assessor observations
Additional information and guidance
It is unlikely students will get very far if they can't organise their folders and information for their work.  Supplementary evidence from the assessor will also be useful and they could also do a presentation on their work area if required.

2.2 I can identify what storage media to use

Candidates should understand the main devices to store their information.
Evidence: Candidates reflections and assessor feedback.
Additional information and guidance
Candidates will be familiar with the use of USB drives and other storage media and should have a basic awareness of where and why they might be used, so for example, it is no good putting their 10GB home drive at school on a 2GB USB drive to take it home. 

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

Candidates should be able to use the best practices around them to organise their digital lives.
Evidence: Candidates' work practices and assessor observations
Additional information and guidance
Most candidates should be using and practicing a centre's policies and should also be taught good naming conventions for their data so this should be straight-forward to evidence.
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 show an awareness of some of the problems they might encounter around IT and how best to cope with them.
Evidence: Candidate reflections.
Additional information and guidance
Some best practise here such as setting up SPAM filters and deleting offensive material before it enters their own areas would be best practice and if students reflect on why these materials are stressful and how dealing with them helps this will be satisfactory.

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

Candidates should show an understanding of what a virus is and does and how to deal with it.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and reflection.
Additional information and guidance
Most school based systems will have built in measures to deal with these risks which students may not be aware of or might not be able to evidence.  This criterion could be a good project as a homework assignment for them to check their own home based systems and procedures and reflect on their efficacy.

3.3 I can keep information secure

Candidates should show an understanding of data security.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and reflection.
Additional information and guidance
Some kind of audit by the students of what actions they take to secure their data would be sufficient here to show they understand the criterion and apply these practices.

3.4 I can outline why it is important to stay safe and to respect others when using IT-based communication

Candidates should show an understanding of safety procedures and respect for other people's material.
Evidence: Candidate documentation and reflection.
Additional information and guidance
Some basic idea of what measures they employ to stay safe as well as a general overview of what respect they engage with while on the Internet, such as basic "netiquette".

3.5 I can follow relevant guidelines and procedures for the safe and secure use of IT

Candidates should show that they have signed, and therefore understood, the centre's AUP.
Evidence: Candidate signed off on AUP.
Additional information and guidance
Most schools and colleges will have students sign and agree to an AUP which should include safety and best practise. 
4. The candidate will carry out routine maintenance of IT systems and respond to routine IT system problems

4.1 I can identify why routine maintenance of hardware is important and when to carry it out

Candidates should show an understanding of basic maintenance.
Evidence: Candidate project outcomes and documentation.
Additional information and guidance
In theory, modern hard drives are rated at 100,000 hours MTBF (mean time before failure).  That amounts to 11.4 years.  In reality, they do not last as long as that due to environmental and other factors.  Candidates should be involved in the procedures at the centre in terms of looking after the IT suites.  What routine maintenance is carried out and why.  They could be asked to comment on the network team's time-line for activities such as replacing hardware and what criteria they use.

4.2 I can identify where to get expert advice

Candidates should document the areas they go to for the key advice they need.
Evidence: Candidate associated documentation.
Additional information and guidance
Maintaining a list of reference sites or people to ask about problems is a good way to have the information you need always available and so not wasting time trying to find it again.
4.3 I can carry out regular routine maintenance of IT systems safely
Candidates should document their routines.
Evidence: Candidate associated documentation.
Additional information and guidance
Maintaining a computer suite is vital for its effectiveness.  If you have local primary schools as partner, students can gain valuable skills and documentation by being assigned to the school to look after their computer systems.  Otherwise, they can be assigned to members of the IT team to assist in system maintenance.  They can work as a team per school or IT room to share the duties.
4.4 I can take appropriate action to handle routine IT problems
Candidates should document the actions they take to issues they find.
Evidence: Candidate associated documentation.
Additional information and guidance
Maintaining a list of actions taken to meet the criterion and gain the required skills.

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.