NPA in Digital Literacy

NPA in Digital Literacy

National Progression Awards (NPAs) assess a defined set of skills and knowledge in specialist vocational areas, linked to National Occupational Standards.

The NPA in Digital Literacy at SCQF level 3 is designed to deliver foundation skills in using digital devices, such as computers, tablets and smartphones, to access information and communication services. It aims to build confidence in the use of digital devices and to help learners to fully participate in the networked society.

The NPA develops knowledge and understanding in:

  • Computer Basics: hardware and software, finding and sharing information, creating and manipulating simple information, and using devices safely, legally and ethically
  • Digital Skills: identifying different forms of social media, identifying reliable digital information, and using digital devices
  • Computer Applications: identifying types of computer applications, using applications for personal, educational and vocational purposes, and using local and cloud storage

The qualification is available through schools, colleges and training providers.

Why deliver this qualification

The NPA offers bite-sized chunks of learning that are straightforward for centres to adopt and for learners to study. New skills can be gained quickly and cost effectively.

The structure of the award is designed to reflect contemporary computing, especially new trends in computer hardware and software, social media, the internet, mobile technologies, and computer applications — as well as how these technologies can be used safely and effectively for everyday purposes.

The Award is designed as an introductory qualification, where learners with little or no experience of digital technologies and computing are able to achieve a basic understanding of technology in everyday contexts.

E-assessment supports flexibility and saves time and other resources. For example, assessment is on-demand using pre-verified questions and they can be accessed 24/7. In addition, marking is instantaneous and there is instant feedback for formative questions.

This NPA provides opportunities to develop:

  • Core Skills
  • transferable skills
  • employability skills

It can be offered in one of the following modes:

  • full-time (eg as a fast-track into full a NC programme)
  • part-time (eg day-release)
  • open and distance learning
  • infill into existing classes
  • evening provision

Who does this qualification suit

The NPA is aimed at beginners and is suitable for:

  • learners who are at school or who may have just left school
  • mature candidates who may have been out of education for a long period of time
  • individuals who are currently in employment and wish to obtain a formal qualification
  • learners who want to study at a pace and style that they determine
  • employees who want to develop their careers
  • individuals who are seeking national recognition of their achievements
  • employers who wish their employees to take part in short continuing professional development courses


This is an entry-level/introductory qualification and learners need not possess any prior SQA qualifications before entering on to the NPA. Entry to the qualification is at the discretion of the centre.


The range of basic skills offered through the award provide an ideal grounding for learners to progress to other awards, such as NPA Digital Passport and NPA PC Passport, both at SCQF level 4. A detailed progression diagram can be found in the Group Award Specification.

Learners will have enhanced their job prospects having gained the digital skills needed for jobs that require basic IT competency. This award will also be useful for those working in a community context, where community learners are required to learn basic digital skills in order to gain a foothold on the current job market.


The qualifications are auto-approved for all Scottish schools and colleges so there is no need to seek approval.

Centres not already approved to deliver this qualification need to come forward for approval and should contact SQA’s Business Development Team for guidance.

Assessors and verifiers must be able to meet SQA’s general requirements for technical/occupational competence as outlined in the Guide to Approval.

How to assess

There are two assessments for each Unit — one covering knowledge and one covering skills.

The knowledge assessment is delivered online and marked automatically through SQA SOLAR, so results are provided almost instantly.

The practical skills are assessed via an Assessment Support Pack (ASP). The ASP for Computer Basics is available to download from SQA’s secure site. The ASPs for Digital Skills and Computer Applications will be available from December 2015.

An alternative approach to assessment, such as a log or e-portfolio is also acceptable. The Unit specifications give detailed information on the Evidence Requirements and approaches to assessment for the Units.

The delivery of the award is at the individual centre’s discretion.

Qualification content and delivery tools

Qualifications Structure

Group Award Code: GL06 43 (18 SCQF credit points)

NPA in Digital Literacy at SCQF level 3 Group Award Specification (382 KB)

The NPA in Digital Literacy at SCQF level 3 consists of three mandatory Units (18 SCQF credit points).