NPA Digital Literacy


This new National Progression Award (NPA) in Digital Literacy at SCQF level 3 has been designed to introduce candidates to a range of different digital tools, productivity software and digital communication methods.

Each mandatory Unit within the NPA has been designed to engage and encourage candidates to use and achieve a basic understanding of digital technology in use in everyday contexts. Many candidates have to cope with new technology, without really understanding its potential and how it can be used to improve their everyday lives and this award will allow candidates to explore a diverse range of digital technology.

The Units combine the softer skills of Communication, Problem Solving and Numeracy (and Information Technology) within the context and use of digital technology. This allows candidates to relate these soft skills, to electronic equipment they may use everyday. It will help build confidence in the use of digital technology whilst improving the softer skills.

Employers increasing expect candidates to be able to use critical thinking, problem solving and working within a group/team to be essential for working in a modern business environment. The ability to communicate effectively is often quoted in many current job advertisements, as is the ability to present information accurately. It is recognised that candidates who demonstrate the basic Core Skills coupled with an understanding of the use of digital technology are more likely to gain employment than those with just IT skills.

Principal aims

The principal aims of this suite of Units that make up the NPA in Digital Literacy:

  • Provide an entry level award that allows candidates to develop skills using digital tools, software and different digital communication methods.
  • Progress into further study such as PC Passport at Beginner level and the National Certificate in Digital Media Computing to further develop knowledge of digital tools and software.
  • Provide the candidate with opportunities to develop Core skills in the context of digital technology.
  • Relate the Core skills and the digital technology skills to the expectations of potential employers.
  • Combine soft skills in Communication, Problem Solving, Numeracy and digital technology to help potential employees gain employment.
  • Provide opportunities for candidates to work towards the job competency for the National Occupational standards at level 1.

Guidance on structure and timing

The following table outlines the Units included in the NPA at SCQF level 3.

Unit Title SCQF level Credit points Notional length
Digital Computing 3 6 40
Digital Numeracy 3 6 40
Digital Communication 3 6 40

Candidates will require access to a range of digital tools for the Digital Computing Unit, which might include computers (stand-alone, networked or laptops), hand-held mobile devices like mobile phones, PDA’s, PC tablets etc. Candidates should also have access to a range of productivity software like word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, database, artwork and imaging, e-mail and educational software.

For the Digital Numeracy Unit candidates should have access to electronic calculators, electronic scales, productivity software like graph and spreadsheet software.

For the Digital Communication Unit candidates should have access to a range of different communication tools which are used for communication. These might include mobile phones, the internet, web cam, internet e-mail software, video conferencing, video teleconferencing equipment etc.

SQA learning and teaching materials

The SQA has produced learning materials for use with each unit within this NPA Digital Literacy. These are available to download, or printed copies can be ordered through the SQA customer contact centre quoting the publications number.

Opportunity for e-learning

Through strategic partnerships between SQA and Microsoft under the 'Partners in Learning' program and through partnership with Learn direct Scotland, there are opportunities to access and use (freely) e-learning tools to help in the delivery of this NPA. These can be downloaded from the Microsoft website, or through Learn Direct SkillNet. There is an SQA instructor guide showing how the SQA and Microsoft materials can be used together for the delivery of this award.

Guidance for assessment

Assessment Support Packs (ASPs) have been produced which provide instruments of assessment, assessor checklists and guidance for making assessment decisions. In all Units it is recommended that evidence for practical tasks is gathered over an extended period. Detailed marking instructions and sample solutions are included in each ASP. Guidance on gathering evidence for practical tasks is also given. All ASPS are available to download from the secure area of SQA's website.


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