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Access to HE Diploma key developments Kath Dentith Head of Access, QAA
Access to HE: some of the challenges in the external context HE tuition fees and loans FE fees and loans: ‘co-funding’ for students 24+ 24+ Advanced learning loans to be written off for AHE students completing HE qualification HE student number controls ABB+ ‘equivalent ‘ qualifications include Access to HE pressures on students on benefits qualifications developments: A level/GCSE qualifications reform (QCF?)
Access to HE in 2012-13: priority activities revised guidance for HE admissions staff Access to HE website redeveloped: new case studies (including short films); improved functionality for Access Courses Database Awarding Body Linkage: joint project - SPA/UCAS/QAA and AVAs Access to HE Diploma qualification specification development
Review of the Access to HE Diploma 2011-12 Interviews with all Access Validating Agencies Analysis of AVA data Roundtable discussion meetings Surveys: 658 students 359 Access to HE tutors 172 HE admissions staff
The Diploma in 2013 Research findings showed significant variability in volume of level 3 credit achieved between 45 and 60 credits balance of content between academic subject content and other content (eg study skills) numbers of units and grades achieved by students take up and acceptability of GCSE equivalent units total credits available to students and how students achieved their Access to HE Diplomas
Does variability matter? Equity: differences not just about student choice but often structural, and therefore opportunities to achieve not equal Progression: inconsistency makes it difficult for HE to set clear, generic entry requirements, especially for non-local students Standards: inconsistency raises concerns about comparability of demand and student achievement on different Diplomas
GCSE equivalents in 2013 Not available to all students Many students already have the GCSEs Very mixed pattern of acceptance by higher education Often achieved as additional credit, which makes it difficult to achieve consistency in the Diploma National policy strongly favours GCSEs for adults, and is doubtful about most equivalents Students can be disadvantaged in future progression and employment if only have equivalents
GCSE equivalents from 2014 From academic year 2014-15 QAA will no longer regulate the claim of GCSE equivalence for groups of Access to HE units AVAs and providers will be able to continue to come to arrangements with individual HEIs to accept units within their Diplomas as equivalent and to offer them if the structure of the Diploma that emerges from consultation accommodates such units
What isn’t changing? Target groups: adults who left school with insufficient formal qualifications who now want to study in higher education Total credit target: 60 credits Grading model: Pass/Merit/Distinction for individual units Other aspects of the specification: eg credit, unit requirements, rules of combination, APL
Academic subject content Proposal 1: The specification is revised to ensure that students taking any Diploma achieve a minimum credit volume of 45 level 3 credits from units concerned with academic subject content
Total credit volume to be achieved from graded units Proposal 2: The specification is revised to ensure that students taking any Diploma report grades achieved for level 3 units with a total credit value which is the same for all Diplomas
Reducing the number of grades in grade profiles Proposal 3: The specification is revised so that the range of possible unit credit values for use on Access to HE Diplomas is reduced to 3, 6, or 9 credits
Ways of achieving the Diploma Proposal 4: From the date that the new specification is implemented, students may only be registered and certificated for units to the value of 60 credits
Credit structure Proposal 5: The specification is revised to ensure a credit structure that is compatible with a fixed volume of credit derived from graded units, using one of the models described (a, b or c)
Model a 45 credits level 3 graded credit with the rest at level 2 or pass/fail level 3 2 or 3 3G 2 or 3 3G 2 or 3 3G 2 or 3 3G 2 or 3 3G 2 or 3 3G
Model b All 60 credits at level 3, 45 graded, 15 pass/fail 3333G 333 333 33 33 33
Model c All 60 credits at level 3 and graded 3G
Main priorities for change for HE admissions staff (survey autumn 2012) a.Minimum level 3 credit value of academic subject content b.Fixed total credit volume of graded level 3 units c.Opportunity for local flexibility and determination of details of content d.All grade profiles contain the same number of grades e.Student achievement is 60 credits only (that is, the 60 are not chosen from a greater volume of credit achievement)
The consultation www.qaa.ac.uk or www.accesstohe.ac.uk www.qaa.ac.ukwww.accesstohe.ac.uk roundtable consultation meetings/meetings with former Access to HE students – Feb/Mar 2013 responses by 22 March 2013 new specification: outline, summer 2013; full document early autumn 2013 AVA and provider development year: 2013-2014 All Access to HE courses operating new specification from 2014-15 students applying to HE with new specification for entry in 2015
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