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The Academic Infrastructure and IQER Wendy Stubbs Assistant Director

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1 The Academic Infrastructure and IQER Wendy Stubbs Assistant Director

2 Aims of the presentation the Academic Infrastructure Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review ( IQER)

3 Academic standards and quality academic standards are predetermined and explicit levels of achievement which must be reached for a student to be granted a qualification academic quality is a way of describing the effectiveness of everything that is done or provided (the learning opportunities) to ensure that students have the best possible opportunity to meet the stated outcomes of their programmes and the academic standards of the awards they are seeking

4 Origins of the Academic Infrastructure Dearing report 1997 Proposals: framework for qualifications and awards at all levels of higher education: threshold standards across all subject areas; guidance for writing programme specifications for each programme; codes of practice to secure the quality of the student experience; public information

5 The Academic Infrastructure: Components Framework for higher education qualifications (FHEQ) Subject benchmark statements Programme specifications Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education ( The Code of practice )

6 The Academic Infrastructure: What does it do? provides a set of common reference points that enables comparable academic standards to be established in institutions without jeopardising their autonomy and diversity enables institutions, their students, employers and the general public to have confidence that an award or qualification is of a standard recognised and acceptable within the UK

7 Questions answered What is the difference between a bachelors degree with honours and a Foundation degree? What is a masters degree? Are degree courses in Physics the same or similar in all institutions? What would I know or be able to do if I took this course?

8 Relationships between components of the Academic Infrastructure Framework for HE qualifications (national agreement) Subject benchmark statement (subject community) Programme specification (institutional staff) Code of Practice setting standards

9 Framework for HE Qualifications (FHEQ)….. the ladder for England, Wales and N. Ireland D all doctoral degrees M Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas and … all Masters degrees H Bachelors degrees Graduate Diplomas with honours Graduate Certificates I Degrees (Ord.; Found.) Dip HE, HND C Cert HE to identify expectations and achievements provide a common language.. the qualification descriptors

10 Framework for higher education qualifications FHEQ (current) Proposed changes to FHEQNQF (2004) D (Doctoral) 8Doctoral degrees8 Vocational diploma M (Masters) 7Masters degrees, Postgraduate Certificates and Postgraduate Diplomas, Post Graduate Certificate Education, First Degrees in medicine dentistry and veterinary sciences 7 NVQ 5 H (Honours) 6Bachelors degrees with Honours, ordinary (bachelors), Professional Graduate Certificates in Education, Graduate Certificates and Graduate Diplomas 6 Vocational cert. I (Intermediate) 5Foundation degrees, Diplomas of HE and other higher diplomas 5 NVQ 4 C (Certificate) 4Higher National Certificates, Certificates of Higher Education 4 Vocational cert.

11 Subject benchmark statements: are statements of what the relevant academic communities consider to be valid frames of reference within which an honours degree in a discipline should be offered; are not definitive regulatory criteria for individual programmes or awards; do, however, provide authoritative reference points, which students and other interested parties will expect both to be taken into account when programmes are designed and reviewed and to be reflected, as appropriate, in programme specifications.

12 Programme specifications a concise description of the intended outcomes of learning from a programme in terms of: knowledge and understanding key skills cognitive skills subject specific skills show how the learning outcomes are going to be achieved and demonstrated in terms of: teaching and learning methods assessment methods make learning explicit; draw upon external reference points such as FHEQ, the subject benchmark statements and the Code of practice

13 Relationships between components of the Academic Infrastructure Framework for HE qualifications (national agreement) Subject benchmark statement (subject community) Programme specification (institutional staff) Code of Practice setting standards

14 Code of practice identifies a series of system-wide principles (precepts) covering matters related to academic quality and standards in higher education management 10 sections based on good practice developed and updated in consultation with the sector Postgraduate research programmes Collaborative provision Students with disabilities External examining Academic appeals and student complaints on academic matters Assessment of students Programme approval, monitoring and review Career Education, information and guidance Placement learning Recruitment and Admission an authoritative reference point for institutions as they assure the quality and standards of their awards

15 Remember The components of the Academic infrastructure are not documents of compliance They are reference points which are designed to help with: Curriculum design Setting and maintaining standards Quality management processes They will be central to the new method of QAA review of HE provision in FE colleges


17 Integrated quality and enhancement review

18 IQER method developed specifically for colleges applies to HEFCE directly, indirectly and consortium-funded provision method that is comparable with institutional audit

19 Aims of IQER to support colleges in evaluating and improving their management of their higher education, for the benefit of students, and within the context of their agreements with awarding bodies to foster good working relationships between colleges and their awarding bodies, for the benefit of students to enable HEFCE to discharge its statutory responsibility for ensuring that provision is made for assessing the quality of education provided by the institutions it funds to provide public information

20 to engage colleges in a process of self evaluation and peer review focused on reviewing, evaluating and improving the management of their higher education provision to produce reports of these review activities to contribute to public information about the academic standards and quality of higher education in colleges. Objectives of IQER

21 using existing college documentation drawing on evidence from Ofsted inspections and also by providing evidence for inspection providing published evidence for an awarding institutions institutional or collaborative provision audit working within the context of each colleges partnership arrangements IQER limits burden by…

22 Dialogue with colleges Each College will have: the same coordinator throughout the IQER cycle the opportunity to negotiate the timing of reviews, in consultation with their awarding body(ies) nominees within the Development engagement facilitator within the Summative review

23 IQER activities two interrelated processes of Developmental engagement and Summative review colleges self-evaluation reviewers desk-based analysis and evaluation of documentary evidence reviewers visit(s) to the college to meet staff, students and other stakeholders

24 Core themes Core theme one: academic standards Core theme two: quality of learning opportunities Core theme three: public information

25 Some important features of IQER the Academic infrastructure provides framework of reference student voice self-evaluation precedes visit peer review, not inspection open and transparent evidence-based

26 The student voice in IQER Students participate: in both Developmental engagements and Summative reviews in discussions between the Coordinator and college about the IQER process in confidential meetings with the reviewers by submitting an optional student written submission

27 Developmental engagements most colleges have one, but provision for fewer or more over five years the numbers of Developmental engagements determined according to student numbers and risk

28 Developmental engagement Focuses on: student assessment as the theme of the first Developmental engagement in each college lines of enquiry colleges chosen theme for a second Developmental engagement

29 Developmental engagement Teams have: typically four members, but fewer for colleges with less than 100 HEFCE funded full time equivalent students usually a Coordinator, a reviewer and two nominees a second reviewer, if the college cannot provide two nominees

30 Developmental engagement outcomes an oral report essential, advisable and/or desirable recommendations good practice for dissemination unpublished written report including action plan

31 Summative review Based on: one Summative review for each college during the five-year cycle all HEFCE-funded provision in the college consideration of the three core themes

32 The Summative review team normally four members a Coordinator and three peer reviewers college facilitator not a team member

33 Summative review judgements and evaluation judgements of confidence, limited confidence or no confidence for core themes one and two an evaluation for core theme three essential, advisable and/or desirable recommendations good practice for dissemination

34 Summative review outcomes a published report containing judgements and action plan


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