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SQA Writing Skills am

by

Mark Phillips

on 14 August 2018

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Transcript of SQA Writing Skills am

SQA WRITING SKILLS
PROGRAMME
INTRODUCTIONS
About you and your role
WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES & PRIORITIES
To develop your writing skills so that you can ...
Communicate more effectively
Be more efficient
Engage, inform and persuade
Write in a clear, confient, accessible and inspiring style
Other?
Written communication is essential in business because it can be used to make ideas clear and to record what has been said or agreed to. At work you need to be able to read and write effectively. Some examples of written communication are letters, e-mails, texts, and reports.
Challenges...
Anecdotal evidence from members and partners on the Single Outcome Agreements instigated a proposal and support from the Scottish Government, Lifelong Learning Directorate, to carry out an investigation on the involvement of the Voluntary Adult Education Sector in the first round of Single Outcome Agreements (SOAs).
People should be recorded as ‘usually living’ (i.e. a usual resident) at the permanent of family home address if they have one. For most people this will be where they usually live and/or spend most of their time. So, by definition, children in foster care should be recorded as a usual resident at the permanent or family home address if they have one, and have their full details recorded on the questionnaire for that address. However, the General Register Office for Scotland (GROS), the organisation responsible for carrying-out the census, is aware that the home circumstances of children in foster care may vary widely and this may affect the recording of these children in the census.
WRITING WITH STYLE
WHO ARE YOU WRITING FOR?
"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum."
Using plain English is a way of demonstrating our corporate values — trusted, enabling,
progressive — and that we’re:
customer-focused
striving for better ways of working
making best use of our resources
reliable
supportive
open and honest
promoting equality
WHAT MAKES GOOD WRITING AT SQA?
7 C's

10.00 Introduction: Writing for SQA

10.15 Who are you writing for?

10.30 Writing with Style

10.45 Break

11.00 Plain Brilliant

11.45 How consistency brings quality

12.30 Lunch
MORNING
AFTERNOON
1:15 Grammar Basics

1.30 Afternoon Writing workshop

1.45 Creating a plan for your writing

2.00 Writing time

2.30 Options

3.00 Finish
What do you write at SQA?
DID YOU KNOW...
...writing is a vital skill for academic and professional success
SQA, Information and resources for tutors of learners whose first language is not English
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES?
• Lack of audience focus
• Inconsistency
• Poor use of structure
• Using an overly formal style
• Trying to create a sense of importance for relatively trivial ideas

What challenges do you face?
Writing for SQA
It makes sense to make everything we say as easy to understand as possible.
of better business writing
Is it Clear?
Is it Compelling?
Is it Complete?
Is it Concise?
Is it Correct?
Is it Consistent?
Is it Customer-focussed?
Sir Humphrey: Well Minister, if you ask me for a straight answer, then I shall say that, as far as we can see, looking at it by and large, taking one thing with another in terms of the average of departments, then in the final analysis it is probably true to say, that at the end of the day, in general terms, you would probably find that, not to put too fine a point on it, there probably wasn't very much in it one way or the other as far as one can see, at this stage.
Example from Writing for SQA, part B, Appendix 1
The guidance notes therefore demonstrate practically how evidence might be gathered such that competence is evidenced sufficient to meet the requirements of both the SVQ Awarding Body and also the specific demands of the regulator and in a manner which illustrates the added value offered by the above specific standards in promoting compliance and associated best practice.

The guidance notes show how to gather evidence to prove your competence and meet the SVQ awarding body’s requirements. They also show the added value of these standards.
The learner should be required to give meaning to the determined solution in everyday language.
Where any issues were raised, this was due to centres where a number of colleges are going through regionalisation, and a standard approach was being rationalised and in the process of being implemented, and centres where the award was being delivered over more than one campus support and advice was given to ensure a standardised approach will be used.

Purpose + Audience = Success
THE WINNING FORMULA
IN MY READER'S BOOTS
FIVE
1. TARGET AUDIENCE
Who are your target audiences?
How well do you know them?
What work have you already done to understand your audience?
3. FOR AN INDIVIDUAL
TRY THE SQA STYLE GUIDE QUIZ
TO DO
Write about your day for
two different audiences.
WAYS TO CONNECT WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
1. Identify your target audience
2. Use the right tone of voice
3. Write for an individual
4. Understand your reader’s purpose
5. Use the words they use
1. Identify your target audience
2. Use the right tone of voice
3. Write for an individual
4. Understand your reader’s purpose
5. Use the words they use
2. TONE OF VOICE
compelling
bold
engaging
deliberate
accurate
fun
dynamic
direct
conventional
brilliant
inspiring
consistent
clear
confident
approachable
inspiring
BRIDGE
DEATH
FEAR
Subject choice

Subjects studied at school (and beyond) can play an important part in career choice.

Parents can help, even though it may seem that Education and what it has to offer has changed a lot!

Things you can do to help:

Encourage your child to take responsibility for their choice, to think things through carefully and to ask for help if they need it
Encourage a choice based on ability and interest rather than what their friends are planning or based on gender
Encourage discussion, listen to their views and how they see their future. Research shows that children look to their parents for advice on career choice more than you might think!
Encourage an open mind about future careers. Having a career idea can help motivate study, but equally many young people naturally take time to develop their ideas. Choosing a group of subjects which keeps options open allows the freedom to change.
TONE OF VOICE
Defined by your relationship with the audience, as well as by who the audience is.
Developing a persona, or a set of personas, can be a route to understanding your audience better.
Ben likes to spend time outdoors. He enjoys football. They often take the dog down to the beach at the weekend.
Ben is 9, He lives in Dundee with his Mum, 2 brothers and their dog, Mungo.
Ben needs to complete a homework task. He is looking for information about eagles and his Mum is helping him. He needs to find out what species of eagle live in Scotland and where he might find them.

Ben’s Mum has also said that if he is interested, they could possibly go and look for eagles, but she would need more information as she isn’t knowledgable about bird watching.
Emma is in her late 30s and lives in Edinburgh with her husband Matt, their two children, Amy and Paul.
As a full-time Physiotherapist, working for Lothian Health Board and a mum, she finds life is busy. She is wants to keep fit and often cycles to work.

Emma does the weekly shop online to avoid wasting her precious weekend and evening time at the supermarket. She stays in touch with friends using Facebook. Right now, her online task is to find an interesting gift for her husband Matt.
4. UNDERSTAND YOUR READER'S PURPOSE
What is this page for?
What is my reader trying to do?
What questions do they ask?
What information do they need?
What order will help them?
5. USE THE RIGHT WORDS
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their right name.
ancient Chinese proverb

What are your Rights?

Respect for family life is one of our Human Rights.

Article 9 of the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) talks about when children are not living with their parents. It says that children have rights to have contact with their families if contact is in their best interests and is not harmful to them.

Why is contact different for everyone?

Looked after children and young people (children and young people in care) need different amounts and types of contact with people who are important to them.

The reason this is different for everyone is that it depends on individual circumstances, which often change as family’s situations change and because there are many different types of families. For example, contact may start slowly when someone comes into care as families might need a bit of time and space. However, often contact is very high just before someone returns home so that everyone can get used to living together again. Sometimes children have no contact with their families because this is not safe for them.
What is the purpose of the writing
Who is it for?
What would you want to achieve by writing?
What would the reader be wanting to achieve by reading this?
What tone of voice would you pick and why?
YOUR WRITING CHALLENGE 1
Think of a current or recent piece of writing.
PURPOSE & AUDIENCE
How well do you know
the SQA Style Guide?
WRITING WITH STYLE
Have you met ...

Part A
Part B
A-Z


STYLE GUIDE
SQA WRITING SKILLS
STRUCTURE
JARGON
WHAT COMES FIRST?
PLAIN BRILLIANT
DID YOU KNOW...
...writing is a vital skill for academic and professional success
» Experiment - aims, apparatus, methodology, results, conclusion
» Thematic
» Logical argument
» Beginning, middle, end
» Story telling
RECIPE
THEMATIC
LOGICAL
FLOW
STORY TELLING STRUCTURE
SCIENTIFIC
EXPERIMENT
What structures do you use in your writing?
George Orwell
1903 – 1950

In 2008, The Times ranked him second on a list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".

“Most people who bother with the matter at all would admit that the English language is in a bad way, but it is generally assumed that we cannot by conscious action do anything about it.”
Politics and the English Language 1946
Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
Never use a long word where a short one will do.
If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
Never use the passive where you can use the active.
Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

Break any of these rules sooner than saying anything outright barbarous.
ORWELL'S RULES
Make your most important point first
Keep sentences short
Choose words your readers would use
Use you, we and our
Prefer active sentences
Put meaning in the verbs
What are the issues with jargon in your sector?
Long words?
Fuzzy writing?
Long sentences?
Challenging concepts?
Lack of audience focus?
CAN PLAIN ENGLISH HELP?
What is Plain English?
What is it for?
How can it help us?
Plain English uses plain words
abbreviate shorten
adjacent next to
ask a question ask
consequently so
due to the fact that since
numerous many
previously before
reside live
requirement need
www.plainenglish.co.uk
In regard to: about

In the event that: if

A sufficient number of: enough

In the vicinity of: near

Were in agreement: agreed

On a daily basis: daily

Are of the belief: believe

Were in attendance: attended

On the occasion that: when

At this point in time: now

Causative factors - does this just mean causes?
Is a “step change” different from a change?
Incentivise and synergy – popular business words that just aren’t in most dictionaries.
What about stakeholders and deliverables?
Is your implementation strategy transparent and proactive?
When a colleague writes in an email, “I am supportive of the suggested proposals that you’ve outlined,” did they just mean “I’m right behind you”?

BUSINESS JARGON
PLAIN ENGLISH BASICS
Over the whole document, make the average sentence length 15 – 20 words.

Use words your readers are likely to understand.

Use only as many words as you really need.
‘To do our work, we all have to read a mass of papers. Nearly all of them are far too long. This wastes time, while energy has to be spent in looking for the essential points. I ask my colleagues and their staff to see to it that their reports are shorter. The aim should be reports which set out the main points in a series of short, crisp paragraphs. If a report relies on detailed analysis of some complicated factors, or on statistics, these should be set out in an appendix. Often the occasion is best met by submitting not a full-dress report, but an ‘aide-memoire’ consisting of headings only, which can be expanded orally if needed. Let us have an end of such phrases as these: ‘It is also of importance to bear in mind the following considerations’, or ‘Consideration should be given to the possibility of carrying into effect’. Most of these woolly phrases are mere padding, which can be left out altogether, or replaced by a single word. Let us not shrink from using the short expressive phrase, even if it is conversational. Reports drawn up on the lines I propose may first seem rough as compared with the flat surface of officialese jargon. But the saving in time will be great, while the discipline of setting out the real points concisely will prove an aid to clearer thinking.’
Winston Churchill: Memo to the War Cabinet Aug 1940
PLAIN ENGLISH BASICS
Prefer the active voice unless there is a good reason for using the passive.

Use clear, crisp, lively verbs to express the actions in your document.
Passive:


Active:



Active voice
It was decided that the next meeting would be held on Wednesday.
We decided to meet again on Wednesday
Strong verbs

Put the actions in the verb, not the nouns:
The Commission recommended few changes.

The Commission’s recommendations for changes were few in number.

What is this about?

Today, technological advances and business needs change at an explosive rate. These changes force technological obsolescence, depreciate equipment values and create the risks associated with asset ownership. Companies are in the precarious position of balancing the desire the take advantage of current and future technologies with the need to maintain a high level of equipment usage on a cost-effective basis. Traditional patterns of equipment ownership do not meet corporate objectives.


Rapid advances in technology have made it impractical for business to buy computer systems. Since expensive equipment depreciates overnight and becomes outdated while still new, owning that equipment can mean the loss of both money and productivity. Leasing computers can be cheaper and more efficient, however, because a company can upgrade without the cost of ownership.


Revised
Inverted Pyramid Style
Main point
Most readers take
in this part
Supporting information,
in order that is relevant
to the reader
Fewer readers
stay for this
History or background -
if needed
Only a few get all
the way to the end

Even though this is the first thing your audience will read, you should write this section last. That's how you know exactly what to say to give your audience a good overview.

http://biggsuccess.com/bigg-articles/how-to-write-a-great-report/

Executive Summary
Which of these writing principles will help in your writing? Why?
Discuss :
Try out your Plain English skills
WRITING CHALLENGE:

In pairs... come up with 10 ways to write the worst ever report and present them to the group.

Writing Challenge 3
HOW CONSISTENCY BRINGS QUALITY
Exploring the SQA Style Guide

Writing the name of the organisation
Referring to SQA’s qualifications

WRITING THE NAME OF THE ORGANISATION
If your document has the above logo you can refer to ‘SQA’ in the text.
Elsewhere, though, give the name in full when you first use it. After this, you can say ‘SQA’. Don’t use ‘the Authority’, as it can be confused with ‘education authority’, and might be taken as pompous.
When giving the name in its abbreviated form, use ‘SQA’ not ‘the SQA’.

REFERRING TO THE SQA'S QUALIFICATIONS
When you’re talking about SQA’s ‘product’, use ‘qualifications’. Don’t use ‘award’, as this is used to refer to the grade a candidate achieves, eg A or B or pass. Only use ‘award’ when referring to the specific qualifications called awards (such as the Safe Road User Award). Use ‘group award’ when referring to SVQs, HNCs, etc.

SQA has three families of qualifications: National Qualifications, Higher National Qualifications, and Scottish Vocational Qualifications. Always use ‘family’ to describe these (not ‘block’, for instance).

If you are giving a qualification a number as well as a name, give the number first, then the title:

D321 12: Mathematics 1 (Higher)

Give the name in italics, and use initial capitals (title case), as in the example.


Use initial capitals for the names of qualifications, but don’t capitalise words like ‘and’ or ‘for’.

• Higher National Qualifications
• Scottish Vocational Qualifications
• Skills for Work

But note:

• National courses
• National units
• Higher National unit
• Higher National group award

Also, because units can be qualifications in their own right, use ‘Unit’ in the unit name, eg Historical Study: British (Higher) Unit.
CAPITALS IN THE NAME OF A QUALIFICATION
When you’re talking about the level of a qualification — whether it’s the SQA level or its level in the SCQF — the word ‘level’ doesn’t need a capital (unless it’s at the beginning of a sentence, of course).

We now describe all our qualifications by giving their SCQF level.

From September 2016, names of SVQs (if they have an SCQF level) should use the following convention:

SVQ <name> at SCQF level <x>

For example:

SVQ Activity Leadership at SCQF level 5

LEVEL OF QUALIFICATION
We use ‘grade’ with a lower-case ‘g’ to mean the level of award made to a candidate.

Where qualifications have numeric levels, or can be awarded at numeric grades, always give these in Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, etc), ie not Roman I, II, III, etc.

Grades at Higher and Advanced Higher are given letters. These are always written as capitals, ie A, B, C.

GRADES
• Choose a letter, then pick a topic from the Style Guide beginning with that letter.

• Read the topic then summarize for other delegates.
ACTIVITY
Think
Plan
Write
Review
Deliver
AFTER
Full transcript