In order to secure threshold academic standards, degree-awarding bodies have to ensure that the requirements of their national framework for higher education qualifications in their respected country is met. The following short list of minimum expectations from degree awarding bodies are based on UK Frame work. There are 19 key points groups in two main categories. Group “A” is about setting and maintaining academic standards, and group “B” refers to assuring and enhancing academic quality.
We assist our partners to develop and maintain key documents that are used to help them meet their national expectations on standards and quality. This work is done through close collaboration with the our partners.
Below is the list of key function in higher education which a Quality Assurance Code has to address. Although this a UK based framework, but from our experience most countries have very similar requirements from their higher education sector. The short list below can act as your Quality Assurance Check List in order to identify any short comings in your current QA system.
Quality Assurance Check List:
Part A Setting and maintaining academic standards
In order to secure threshold academic standards, degree-awarding bodies have to ensure that the requirements of The framework for higher education qualifications in their respected country is met. The following are based on UK Frame work.
- Positioning their qualifications at the appropriate level of the relevant framework for higher education qualifications
- Ensuring that programme learning outcomes align with the relevant qualification descriptor in the relevant framework for higher education qualifications
- Naming qualifications in accordance with the titling conventions specified in the frameworks for higher education qualifications
- Awarding qualifications to mark the achievement of positively defined programme learning outcomes
b) consider and take account of the national frameworks for higher education qualifications guidance on qualification characteristics
c) where they award credit, assign credit values and design programmes that align with the specifications of the relevant national credit framework.
d) consider and take account of relevant subject benchmark statements.
In order to secure their academic standards, degree-awarding bodies establish transparent and comprehensive academic frameworks and regulations to govern how they award academic credit and qualifications.
Degree-awarding bodies maintain a definitive record of each programme and qualification that they approve (and of subsequent changes to it) which constitutes the reference point for delivery and assessment of the programme, its monitoring and review, and for the provision of records of study to students and alumni.
Degree-awarding bodies establish and consistently implement processes for the approval of taught programmes and research degrees that ensure that academic standards are set at a level which meets their national threshold standard for the qualification and are in accordance with their own academic frameworks and regulations.
Degree-awarding bodies ensure that credit and qualifications are awarded only where:
- the achievement of relevant learning outcomes (module learning outcomes in the case of credit, and programme outcomes in the case of qualifications) has been demonstrated through assessment
- both the National threshold standards and the academic standards of the relevant degree-awarding body have been satisfied.
Degree-awarding bodies ensure that processes for the monitoring and review of programmes are implemented which explicitly address whether the National threshold academic standards are achieved and whether the academic standards required by the individual degree-awarding body are being maintained.
In order to be transparent and publicly accountable, degree-awarding bodies use external and independent expertise at key stages of setting and maintaining academic standards to advise on whether
- National threshold academic standards are set, delivered and achieved
- the academic standards of the degree-awarding body are appropriately set and maintained.
Part B: Assuring and enhancing academic quality
Expectation B1 (Programme design, development and approval)
Higher education providers, in discharging their responsibilities for setting and maintaining academic standards and assuring and enhancing the quality of learning opportunities, operate effective processes for the design, development and approval of programmes.
Expectation B2 (Recruitment, selection and admission)
Recruitment, selection, and admission policies and procedures adhere to the principles of fair admission. They are transparent, reliable, valid, inclusive and underpinned by appropriate organisational structures and processes. They support higher education providers in the selection of students who are able to complete their programme.
Expectation B3 (Learning and teaching)
Higher education providers, working with their staff, students and other stakeholders, articulate and systematically review and enhance the provision of learning opportunities and teaching practices, so that every student is enabled to develop as an independent learner, study their chosen subject(s) in depth and enhance their capacity for analytical, critical and creative thinking.
Expectation B4 (Enabling student development and achievement)
Higher education providers have in place, monitor and evaluate arrangements and resources which enable students to develop their academic, personal and professional potential.
Expectation B5 (Student engagement)
Higher education providers take deliberate steps to engage all students, individually and collectively, as partners in the assurance and enhancement of their educational experience.
Expectation B6 (Assessment and the recognition of prior learning)
Higher education providers operate equitable, valid and reliable processes of assessment, including for the recognition of prior learning, which enable every student to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes for the credit or qualification being sought.
Expectation B7 (External examining)
Higher education providers make scrupulous use of external examiners.
Expectation B8 (Programme monitoring and review)
Higher education providers, in discharging their responsibilities for setting and maintaining academic standards and assuring and enhancing the quality of learning opportunities, operate effective, regular and systematic processes for monitoring and for review of programmes.
Expectation B9 (Academic appeals and student complaints)
Higher education providers have procedures for handling academic appeals and student complaints about the quality of learning opportunities; these procedures are fair, accessible and timely, and enable enhancement.
Expectation B10 (Managing higher education provision with others)
Degree-awarding bodies take ultimate responsibility for academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities, irrespective of where these are delivered or who provides them. Arrangements for delivering learning opportunities with organisations other than the degree- awarding body are implemented securely and managed effectively.
Expectation B11 (Research degrees)
Research degrees are awarded in a research environment that provides secure academic standards for doing research and learning about research approaches, methods, procedures and protocols. This environment offers students quality of opportunities and the support they need to achieve successful academic, personal and professional outcomes from their research degrees.
Higher education providers produce information for their intended audiences about the learning opportunities they offer that is fit for purpose, accessible and trustworthy.