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23 Nov 07 Tim Burton, University Senior Quality Officer

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1 23 Nov 07 Tim Burton, University Senior Quality Officer
Managing Academic Quality and Standards – Part I: The External Environment 23 Nov 07 Tim Burton, University Senior Quality Officer

2 Objectives To set the University’s management of Q&S in the context of the external environment: England and Europe To explain the key elements of the national framework QAA terminology: ‘quality’, ‘standards’ and ‘enhancement’ The QAA Academic Infrastructure Audits and reviews To outline the European dimension and its potential implications: the Bologna process Future developments: FDAP

3 Terminology QAA Definitions:
‘Academic standards are a way of describing the level of achievement that a student has to reach to gain an academic award (for example, a degree). It should be at a similar level across the UK.’ ‘Academic quality is a way of describing how well the learning opportunities available to students help them to achieve their award. It is about making sure that appropriate and effective teaching, support, assessment and learning opportunities are provided for them.’

4 Sometimes shortened to
quality (cont.) Sometimes shortened to Quality of the learning opportunities, or Quality of the student learning experience Or put another way: 'learning opportunities' is taken to mean the combined effect of the programmes of study and academic and personal support for students’

5 To illustrate: Standards: Quality
Programme and module learning outcomes the setting and marking of assessment tasks Awarding credit and the qualification (inc. APL) Plagiarism and other unfair means PSRB requirements Cf entry requirements Quality The practice of teaching (inc methods of, placement learning) Learning resources Formative assessment/feedback on assessment Annual monitoring and review Admissions and induction Academic support and guidance

6 Standards are absolute Quality can be:
Assured – evidencing/making transparent (public confidence) Enhanced QAA definition of enhancement: ‘the process of taking deliberate steps at institutional level to improve the quality of learning opportunities’ ‘In this definition of quality enhancement, the emphasis is on how an institution seizes developmental opportunities in a manner no less systematic and no less based on clear strategic planning than quality assurance - 'taking deliberate steps‘ … steady, reliable and demonstrable improvements in the quality of learning opportunities.’

7 Enhancement of the quality systems (QSC)
Enhancement of the practice of learning and teaching (ULTAC)

8 QAA Academic Infrastructure
Collectively define the external expectations and set out good practice as perceived by the sector: Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ, 2001) [being revised] Subject Benchmark Statements Foundation Degree Benchmark Statement Programme Specifications QAA Code of Practice (in ten sections) APL Guidelines Progress Files

9 FHEQ (Jan 01) (currently being revised)
guidance on the titles of qualifications, levels of qualifications (e.g. Honours) and descriptors for each qualification (no mention of credit) Five levels of qualification (three UG, 2 PG) C, I, H, M, D Qualification descriptors for each qualification level Qualification nomenclature ‘degree’ only if I level upwards Honours only if H level Difference between ‘graduate’ and postgraduate’ Subjects: ‘and’ & ‘with’ degrees, combined studies

10 Subject Benchmark Statements
define what a programme should include to give comparability to programmes at different institutions E.g. Law (2000) Subject specific abilities General transferable intellectual skills Key skills

11 Foundation Degree Benchmark Statement (Oct 04)
specific expectations for any programme leading to the award of an Fd An invention of government cf other awards Fills the void for the FHEQ – intermediate level Lays down ‘defining characteristics’ Employer engagement articulation

12 Programme specifications (revised 2006)
a way of setting out what a student can expect to achieve if they undertake the programme ‘intended learning outcomes’ draws on the FHEQ qualification descriptor and the relevant SBS QAA Code of Practice (ongoing) 1: Postgraduate research programmes (Sep 04) 2: Collaborative provision and flexible and distributed learning (including e-learning) (Sep 04) 3: Students with disabilities (Oct 99) 4: External Examining (Aug 04)

13 5: Academic appeals and student complaints on academic matters (Oct 07)
6: Assessment of students (Sep 06) 7: Programme design, approval, monitoring and review (Sep 06) 8: Careers education, information and guidance (Jan 01) 9: Work-based and placement learning (Sep 07) 10: Admission to higher education (Sep 06)

14 Each section contains ‘precepts’ – statements of sector good practice
Change of language resulting from HERRG guidance ‘should’ becomes ‘institutions do …’ [example] Institutions ‘reflect the intentions’ of the Code; is not about slavish compliance

15 Guidelines on the accreditation of prior learning (Sep 04)

16 Progress Files a means of recording students’ achievement in completing programmes includes the Academic Transcript and PDP

17 Credit Credit Consortia Guidelines
The above Infrastructure does not deal directly with credit (because not all HEIs operate credit-based systems), but three consortia of HEIs have together devised guidelines on the volume and level of credit which have been adopted by the University (UoH is a member of NUCCAT – Northern Universities’ Consortium for Credit Accumulation and Transfer) (however, see further under the Burgess Group report below)

18 The role of credit in maintaining academic standards
Levels – alignment with FHEQ (hence the levels 4-8) Recommended minimum credits per level per qualification

19 Teaching Quality Information and the NSS
Publication of quantitative and qualitative data - e.g. summaries of internal reviews and external examiners reports full programme specifications National Student Survey Importance of ensuring the accuracy of the information we publish about our provision Clarification of the target audience

20 Revised specification – removal of qualitative data requirements but
Sharing external examiner reports with student representatives (and see ESG below)

21 The European dimension
The Bologna Process An ‘intergovernmental process’ aiming to create the European Higher Education Area by 2010 supported by 10 ‘Action Lines’ (not being expanded) Focus on mutual recognition of awards and quality assurance systems and compatibility

22 Bologna declaration (19 Jun 99)
System of easily readable and comparable degrees (Diploma supplement) A system based on two cycles – undergraduate and graduate Establishment of a system of credits Promotion of mobility for students and teachers, researchers and administrative staff Promotion of European co-operation in quality assurance – comparable criteria and methodologies Promotion of the ‘necessary’ European dimensions in HE (curricular development, integrated programmes of study)

23 The European Higher Education Area (EHEA) is envisaged as an open space that allows students, graduates, and higher education staff to benefit from unhampered mobility and equitable access to high quality higher education. The corner stones of such an open space are mutual recognition of degrees and other higher education qualifications, transparency (readable and comparable degrees organised in a three-cycle structure) and European cooperation in quality assurance. (Bologna official website)

24 Ministerial meetings Outputs Bologna Declaration – 19 Jun 99
5th London – May 07 Next instalment: Benelux – Apr 09 Outputs European Standards and Guidelines European Framework for Higher Education Qualifications The above two are regarded as important ‘pillars of the emerging EHEA’ (UK HE Europe Unit, 2005) – agreed at Bergen in 2005 European Network (Association) of Quality Assurance Agencies (ENQA)

25 European Standards and Guidelines
Part I – ESG for internal QA of HE Basic principles Purposes

26 Seven standards and guidelines
Policy and procedures for QA Approval, monitoring and periodic review of programmes and awards Assessment of students Quality assurance of teaching staff Learning resources and student support Information systems Public information

27 European Framework for Qualifications
Not to be confused with the EU European Framework! Qualification ‘cycles’ Generic qualification descriptors – the Dublin descriptors Credit allocations per cycle Qualification cycles First cycle – Honours level awards Second cycle – Masters level Third – Doctoral level (Bologna declaration talks of two cycles – masters and doctoral as the second) Bergen 2005 gave recognition to the Foundation Degree as a first cycle ‘intermediate qualification’

28 First cycle – 180-240 ECTS credits (360-480 UK)
Second – & min 60 at second cycle level ( ) No expectation of credit rating third cycle

29 Issues and implications
credit based on achievement of outcomes versus time served Duration of qualifications/volume of credit One year masters degrees (3+2 is not mandatory) integrated masters degrees (60 ECTS at level 7) Recognition of qualifications Exclusivity v inclusivity Requirement of self-certification of FHEQ

30 Burgess I Proposals for national arrangements for the use of academic credit in HE (Dec 06) ‘overwhelming’ support for a ‘permissive national credit framework’ Main provision to be credit rated by 09/10 Framework aligned to FHEQ (inc renaming levels to 4-8 rather than C-D) Credit Issues Development Group (CIDG) to develop guidance To be owned by the HE sector and maintained by QAA Europe Unit to advise on ECTS implications (alignment)

31 What CIDG will not do: Create guidelines on compensation and condonement Offer guidance on credit shelf life

32 Burgess II Beyond the honours degree classification (Oct 07)
‘the UK honours degree is a highly valued qualification but the honours degree classification system is no longer fit for purpose. It cannot describe, and therefore does not do full justice to, the range of knowledge, skills, experience and attributes of a graduate in the 21st century… we have found [it] wanting.’ Recommends the ‘Higher Education Achievement Report’ (HEAR) To be in place by 10/11 ‘alongside’ the classification system

33 Audits and reviews – QAA
Current methodologies Institutional Audit (& Collaborative Provision Audit) – of HEIs Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review (IQER) – review of FECs –(HEFCE funded HE in FE) Recent experience Institutional audit (2004) Collaborative provision audit (2006) Major Review of Healthcare (2004, 2006) Special Review of Research Degree Provision (2005) IQER Pilot, Doncaster College (2007) Foundation Degree Reviews (2003, 2005) Now defunct Academic (subject) Review

34 Quality Assurance Framework (HEFCE)
Phase 1 – Jul 05 (2005/35) Inc move towards enhancement focus Changes to Institutional audit (esp. replacement of DATs by audit trails) Phase 2 – Oct 06 (2006/45) Evaluation of TQI and NSS Focus on needs of applicants and their advisers Removal of qualitative information Remove information HEI directly make publicly available

35 Institutional Audit Confidence judgements One of three judgements
The audit team will make two judgements: the ‘confidence that can reasonably be placed in the soundness of the institution’s present and likely future management of the academic standards it its awards the quality of the learning opportunities available to students One of three judgements confidence (replacing 2004 broad confidence) limited confidence no confidence If the audit includes collaborative provision, the judgements will be made relating to both on campus and collaborative provision unless the audit team think it necessary to make a separate judgement in any specific case

36 Comments - The audit team will ‘comment’ on:
The arrangements for maintaining appropriate academic standards and quality of postgraduate research programmes The institution’s approach to ‘developing and implementing institutional strategies for enhancing the quality of its educational provision, both taught and by research’ The reliance that can reasonably be placed on the accuracy and completeness of the information which the institution publishes about quality and standards

37 Features of good practice
Recommendations - As in 2004, the audit team will be empowered to make recommendations, categorised as: Essential Advisable, or Desirable Features of good practice The audit team will seek to identify features which it considers ‘make a particularly positive contribution to the institution’s approach’ to managing Q&S

38 Essentials for achieving confidence
strong and scrupulous use of independent external examiners in summative assessment procedures similar use of independent external participants in internal quality management procedures, with particular reference Section 7 In both cases, the emphasis is on both independence and externality being satisfied.

39 Features of the audit process
Briefing paper (replacing the SED) and supporting evidence Students’ Briefing paper Briefing Visit (3 day) 5 day audit visit If CP, possible visits to partners Sampling trails – vertical slicing – focus on periodic review Existing documentation plus short covering papers Meetings with staff and students Supplementary trails – proposed by the institution

40 the principal focus will be on how ‘policies and procedures are carried out in practice, including the way the institution makes practical use of the outcomes of internal review to support the enhancement of the learning opportunities available to students’ [emphasis added].

41 The report (draft +8 weeks) - In three parts
An overview of the findings of the audit (aimed at lay and external professional audiences) A technical annex (detailed, intended to be of practical use to the institution) A summary of findings of the report including the judgements, intended for the wider public, especially potential students.

42 IQER Of HEFCE directly-funded HE in FE Pilots Jan-Jul 07 (Doncaster)
Full launch in 2008 (first 31 reviews announced Nov 07) Developmental Engagements (thematic) Summative Review (judgements)

43 Foundation Degree awarding powers (FDAP)
Further Education and Training Act 2007 FE Colleges only (at least for now) Scrutiny by QAA similar to TDAP process Final decision by government Six year probation period Anticipated to be a small number of FECs able to qualify Application of the FD Qualification Benchmark Statement FECs not permitted to validate/franchise Fds to third parties

44 Coming up in Part II … To explain the key elements of the University’s framework And how it is informed by external expectations developed, approved, enhanced communicated Who is responsible for quality and standards? Principles and values Our Approach to Quality and Standards – developing a quality system

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