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The revised Access to HE Diploma specification CAVA Conference November 2013 Julie Farmer Assistant Director (Access to HE) QAA.

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Presentation on theme: "The revised Access to HE Diploma specification CAVA Conference November 2013 Julie Farmer Assistant Director (Access to HE) QAA."— Presentation transcript:

1 The revised Access to HE Diploma specification CAVA Conference November 2013 Julie Farmer Assistant Director (Access to HE) QAA

2 QAA was established in 1997 Purpose: to assure standards and improve the quality of UK higher education Offices in England, Scotland & Wales Around 170 staff and a database of 600 reviewers ABOUT QAA

3 QAA TODAY Some of QAA’s main UK activities today:  Review and audit programmes for universities, further education colleges and alternative providers of higher education  Adviser to Privy Council on applications for degree-awarding powers and university title  Provider of Educational Oversight, on behalf of the Home Office and Department of Business, Innovation & Skills  UK Quality Code for Higher Education  Access to HE

4 QAA & ACCESS TO HE  1997 – QAA given oversight of Access Recognition Scheme - the regulatory framework within which we license Access Validating Agencies  Developments since 1997:  Access to HE Diploma (2006) revised 2013  Access to HE Grading Scheme (2009)  Greater portability  National recognition  Common identity - the Access to HE logo  Dedicated website  Data collection - annual Access Key Statistics and Joint Statistical Agencies report

5 The 2013 specification: clarity of aims and purpose Aims: to ensure equity for students to improve consistency, clarity and transparency to underpin the assurance of standards to maintain some degree of local determination of details of content, delivery and assessment

6 2013 specification: key changes 45 credits from graded level 3 units concerned with academic subject content 15 credits from level 2 or ungraded level 3 units Units 3, 6 or 9 credits amendment to regulation on referrals, GCSE-equivalents no longer regulated All Diplomas = 60 credits total

7 1. Diploma = 60 credits total Rules of combination identify the units (including mandatory and optional units) which define the required achievement for students = 60 credits Students registered and certificated for specified units to the value of 60 credits; this provides basis for a planned, coherent programme of study Unit registrations no later than 12 weeks from start of course – or before student applies to HE 2.Unit credit values: 3, 6 or 9 credits All Diplomas made up of units of 3, 6 or 9 credits

8 3.Academic subject content a.unit content (as expressed in the learning outcomes) must relate to knowledge and skills of subjects identified in title of the Diploma b.students supported/ assessed on unit by subject expert c.includes knowledge and skills related to all Access to HE Diploma subjects – eg Multi-Media as well as History d.not study skills, personal development, or generic English or mathematics units, but can include specialist (eg Maths for engineering) and technical (eg lab skills)

9 Academic subject content (2) And also, for units that focus on research project or major final project: e.units have learning outcomes relating to students' command of the knowledge domain and conventions of the subject (not just generic research skills) f.student work must be original work for the unit only (not just ‘cross-referenced’ from work produced to demonstrate achievement of other units’ learning outcomes)

10 4. Level 2 or ungraded level 3 decision about balance between L2 or ungraded L3 determined at validation according to progression needs units identified as L2 or L3 in Rules of Combination if graded in some Diplomas and ungraded in others, these must be separately validated units may also be concerned with academic subject content

11 5. Referrals Current situation: opportunities for second resubmission limited to the end of the year Two changes in response to these concerns: referral allowed at any time of the year more holistic approach to assessment allowed for assessment of referred (second resubmission) work guidance on changes in the full specification

12 6. GCSE equivalents from 2014 From QAA will no longer regulate or endorse the claim of GCSE equivalence for groups of Access to HE units Response to: -varying acceptance by HEIs (growing need for full GCSE and ‘Grade B’ equivalence) -lack of recognition by employers -changing perception of value of ‘equivalents’ -policy and funding of GCSEs for adults -increasing numbers of students with GCSEs -impact on Diploma structures

13 Possibilities and alternatives up to 15 credits at level 2 potential for AVAs and providers to maintain local arrangements with local HEIs or courses, where units as part of to accept units within their Diplomas as adequate to satisfy their GCSE requirement(s) funded GCSE achievement before or alongside Access to HE and additional ‘space’ in Diploma for other units

14 Benefits for students Equity: same achievement required for same qualification; structural consistency ensures equity of opportunity for students to achieve Progression into the Diploma: students clear about the structure and demands of their intended Diploma Fair access to HE: HE providers better able to publish clear, generic entry requirements, and students can compete on equal footing Standards: consistency underpins confidence in the comparability of demand and student achievement on different Diplomas

15 The implementation timeline First students entering HE with new specification: Full implementation: from All Diplomas compliant; students applying to HE Development year for AVAs and providers: Diplomas re-developed and revalidated, where necessary New specification developed & published: Outline - June 2013Full Specification: Sept 2013

16 Implementation support from QAA communications and PR strategy ongoing dialogue with AVAs to address all aspects of implementation events for higher education and AHE providers guides for –students –tutors admissions ‘toolkit’ including updated guide to admissions new website for improved information and functionality

17 What stays the same? level and size of qualification: Level 3, 60 credits Grading Scheme credit and unit technical definitions etc AND what it’s for: preparation for HE who it’s for: adults (19+) who left school with insufficient formal qualifications to progress to higher education

18 Remaining true to aim and purpose..... Behind the statistics are women and men with unrealised potential for self-development and valuable contributions to the community. That development and those contributions will depend largely on the quality of equal opportunity that they are given through these courses, as expressed through academic, professional, tutorial and financial support. A survey of Access courses to HE: analysis and prospects (CNAA briefing paper, 1990)

19 Access to HE: continuing to help students to change their lives Thank


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