PDA Design Principles and Titles
PDAs developed under the new design principles will remain the flexible, useful product established under the previous design rules. However, the new design principles will also bring a measure of coherence to this important qualification, which will enhance their credibility among users and employers. PDAs will be for those already in a career or vocation who wish to extend or broaden their skills base. They will assess and certificate progression in a defined set of specialist occupational skills.
1. Revised design principles
Professional Development Awards:
- will be available at SCQF levels 6 - 12
- at SCQF level 6 will be made up of Units with a minimum credit value of 12 SCQF credit points
- at SCQF levels 7 – 12 will be made up of a minimum credit value of 16 SCQF credit points
- will be made up of at least two Units
- will have at least half the SCQF credit points will be at the level of the Group Award
- will be made up of mandatory and/or optional Units which reflect the title of the Group Award
- will be aligned to National Occupational Standards, or other professional body standards, as appropriate to the Group Award area.
2. Main changes to PDAs
There are four main changes to PDAs. These are:
- All PDAs and their component Units will be credit rated against SCQF.
- PDAs will have a minimum number of SCQF credits and be made up of at least two Units.
- There will be 7 distinct levels ranging from SCQF level 6 – 12.
- There will be new titles for all revised PDAs, which will reflect the vocational context and the SCQF level of the Group Award. Thus revised PDAs will be titled ‘Professional Development Award in XXXX at SCQF level X’. For example, ‘Professional Development Award in Enterprise at SCQF level 8’.
3. Additional information relating to revised design principles.
- PDAs can comprise HN, NQ and Workplace assessed Units.
- All Units will be validated and credit rated by SQA.
- PDAs can have either mandatory and optional Units or all mandatory Units or all optional Units. The choice of structure must reflect the title and aim of the award and this will be checked at validation. For example, if an award comprised solely of optional Units, it would have to be shown how each choice of optional Units provided the skills and knowledge outlined in the aims of the Group Award.
- It will be possible to have PDAs with the same vocational context at different SCQF levels. However, each Group Award must have distinct aims that are commensurate with the level of the PDA and there would need to be a separate need and demand for each level.
- PDAs may also be embedded within another qualification such as an HNC or HND. Similarly, in these cases, a separate rationale, aims, purpose and structure must be given for the PDA and this must be supported by market research (although validation may take place at the same time as the HNC/D).