Threshold academic standards are the minimum acceptable level of achievement that a student has to demonstrate to be eligible for an academic award. For equivalent awards, the threshold level of achievement should be the same across the UK. Individual awarding bodies are responsible for setting the grades, marks or classification that differentiate between levels of student achievement above the threshold academic standard within an individual award. Academic quality is concerned with how well the learning opportunities made available to students enable them to achieve their award. It is about making sure that appropriate and effective teaching, support, assessment and learning resources are provided for them. In order to achieve a higher education award, students participate in the learning opportunities made available to them by their higher education provider. A provider should be capable of guaranteeing the quality of the opportunities it provides, but it cannot guarantee how any particular student will experience those opportunities. By ensuring that its policies, structures and processes for the management of learning opportunities are implemented effectively, a higher education provider also ensures the effectiveness of its outcomes.Enhancement is the process by which higher education providers systematically improve the quality of provision and the ways in which students' learning is supported. This can take place in different ways and at different levels, but a higher education provider should be aware that it has a responsibility to improve the quality of learning opportunities and to have policies, structures and processes in place to detect where improvement is necessary. Willingness to consider enhancement should be embedded throughout the higher education provider, but should stem from a high-level awareness of the need to consider improvement. Quality enhancement should naturally form part of effective quality assuranceThese definitions of standards and quality and explanation of enhancement can be found in the General Introduction to the Quality Code: www.qaa.ac.uk/Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Pages/Quality-Code-introduction.aspx
The Quality Code is owned by the UK higher education sector and is published and maintained by QAA on their behalf. QAA works with the sector in developing and maintaining the Quality Code, to ensure that it represents expectations on which all higher education providers are agreed. The Quality Code is relevant to a wider audience than just HE providers, and QAA works with a wider audience to develop the Quality Code. Students are at the heart of QAA’s work and QAA engages directly with students and with representative bodies such as the NUSWe also recognise that there are different audiences within HE providers, including those with specific responsibilities for quality and standards, academic staff, and those who act as reviewers for QAA.Our ‘get involved’ page on the Quality Code web pages - http://www.qaa.ac.uk/AssuringStandardsAndQuality/quality-code/Pages/get-involved.aspx – indicates how people from different stakeholders can contribute to the development of the Code. In particular work on each chapter involves public consultation.
This is part of work being produced by QAA to inform and engage students and wider audiences both in the Quality Code and in quality assurance more broadly. It is supported by a series of podcasts available on the QAA website - http://www.qaa.ac.uk/AssuringStandardsAndQuality/what-is-quality/pages/default.aspx A guide for students is now under development.
Tim burton aua conference - presentation version
UK Quality Code for Higher Education Tim Burton Research, Development and Partnerships GroupThe Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Registered charity numbers 1062746 and SC037786
Aims• Explain QAA’s role• Explain the Quality Code • How it is being developed • What is contains • Where to find it • How to use it
The role of the Quality Assurance Agency• QAA’s mission is to safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education• We work with higher education providers to develop reference points and guidance which are used by all providers• We conduct reviews and publish reports detailing the findings of those reviews• We investigate concerns about a subscriber’s quality and standards• For more information see: www.qaa.ac.uk/aboutus
QAA’s Strategy 2011-14• QAA has four strategic aims for the period 2011-14 • meet students needs and be valued by them • safeguard standards in an increasingly diverse UK and international context • drive improvements in UK higher education • improve public understanding of higher education standards and quality.
Why the Quality Code was developed• Evaluation of its predecessor the Academic Infrastructure to determine whether it remained fit for purpose• Consultation with HE providers and other stakeholders• A Final report setting out the proposed structure of the Quality Code
UK Quality Code forHigher Education • Setting and maintaining Part A threshold academic standards • Assuring and enhancing Part B academic quality • Information about higher Part C education provision
Chapters of the Quality CodePart A: Setting and maintaining Part B: Assuring and enhancingthreshold academic standards academic quality B1: Programme design and approvalA1: The national level B2: AdmissionsA2: The subject and qualification B3: Learning and teachinglevel B4: Student supportA3: The programme level B5: Student engagementA4: Approval and review B6: Assessment of students andA5: Externality accreditation of prior learning B7: External examiningA6: Assessment of achievement oflearning outcomes B8: Programme monitoring and review B9: Complaints and appeals B10: Management of collaborative Part C: Information about arrangements higher education provision B11: Research degrees General introduction
The Quality Code:components Explanation Indicators of sound practice Expectation: what higher education providers expect of each other and which students and the public can expect of all higher education providers
Terms Threshold academic standards Academic quality Enhancement Defined in the General Introduction
All students are treated fairly, equitably and Staff are as individuals. Students have the supported, enabling opportunity to them in turn to contribute to the support students shaping of their learning learning experience. experiences. Sufficient and appropriate external Students are properly involvement exists for the maintenance of Overarching and actively informed at appropriate times ofacademic standards and the quality of learning values matters relevant to their programmes of study. opportunities. All policies and All policies and processes are processes relating to regularly and study and effectively programmes are clear monitored, reviewed Strategic oversight of and transparent. and improved. academic standards and academic quality is at the highest level of academic governance of the provider.
Quality Code – under constructionThe existing elements of theAcademic Infrastructure put Some completely new back together in a different chapters e.g. student order engagement Review and editing of the whole for Some reworking to consistency and to cover topics in a more reduce duplication appropriate way
Building the jigsawPart B: Assuring and enhancing academic qualityOct 2011 Chapter B7: External examiningMar 2012 Part C: Information about higher education provisionJun 2012 Chapter B11: Research degrees Chapter B5: Student engagementSep 2012 Chapter B3: Learning and teachingDec 2012 Chapter B10: Management of collaborative arrangementsMar 2013 Chapter B4: Student support, learning resources and careers education, information, advice and guidanceApr 2013 Chapter B9: Complaints and appealsPart A: Setting and maintaining threshold academic standardsJul 2013 Chapter A1: The national level Chapter A2: The subject and qualification level Chapter A3: The programme level Chapter A4: Approval and review Chapter A5: Externality Chapter A6: Assessment of achievement of learning outcomesJul 2013 Chapter B6: Assessment of students and accreditation of prior learningSep 2013 Chapter B1: Programme design and approval Chapter B8: Programme monitoring and reviewOct 2013 Chapter B2: Admissions
Under constructionNew chapters Progress? Published when?Part C: Information about HE provision March 2012B5: Student engagement June 2012B3: Learning & Teaching September 2012B4: Student support March 2013Revised chaptersB7: External Examining October 2011B11: Research degrees June 2012B10: Management of collaborative December 2012 arrangementsB9: Complaints and appeals April 2013
Alignment timetable 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 Part A: setting andB7: External examining B3: Learning and teaching maintaining threshold academic standardsPart C: Information about B1: Programme design and B5: Student engagementhigher education provision approval B10: Management of B2: Admissions collaborative arrangements B11: Research degrees B4: Student support B6: Assessment of students B8: Programme monitoring and review B9: Complaints and appeals
Keeping up to dateWebsite:www.qaa.ac.uk/qualitycodeEmail:firstname.lastname@example.orgSign up to QAA News:www.qaa.ac.uk/Newsroom/News/Pages/QAA-news-alert.aspx
Who needs to know about the Quality Code? Students Academic StaffQuality Managers Professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs)Employers Other stakeholder groups
ExamplesChapter B7:External examiningHigher education providers make scrupulous use of external examiners
Identifying responsibilitiesAwarding body HE provider• Appoint external examiners • Nominate external examiners• Provide induction • Contribute to induction• Conduct/oversight of • Conduct of assessment assessment process process• Receive reports – oversee • Receive copy of report - act on scrutiny/key themes • Respond to external examiner• Respond to external and awarding body? examiner? • Details in programme information • Share/discuss reports with student representatives
Changes to practice?• Ensuring responsibilities are clear • For staff at institutional, faculty and departmental levels • For collaborative partners• Applying the national criteria for appointments• Reviewing induction arrangements• Ensuring students have the opportunity to be involved, seeing reports, discussing possible actions
Possible sources of evidence• Written agreement with awarding body (setting out delegation)• Quality manual (for the process)• Examples of appointments• Induction/mentoring activity• Boards of examiners’ minutes• Sample reports – annual monitoring reports• Course rep or equivalent minutes
Supporting staff• At provider level• Nationally • The HEA External Examining Handbook • The second joint HEA/QAA External Examiners’ Conference (8 Nov 12)• QAA guidance for external examiners on the Concerns Scheme
ExamplesPart C:Information about HE provision Higher education providers produce information for their intended audiences about the learning opportunities they offer that is fit for purpose, accessible and trustworthy
Structure of Part CBased around the purposes of information• To communicate the purposes and value of higher education to the public at large• To help prospective students make informed decisions about where, what, when and how they will study• To enable current students to make the most of their higher education learning opportunities.• To confirm the achievements of students on completion of their studies• To safeguard academic standards and assure and enhance academic quality.
Changes to practice?• Focusing on intended audiences• Engaging with those audiences; getting feedback• Focusing on inclusivity• Ensuring processes and responsibilities are clear and effective
Sources of evidence• Mission statement, strategies• Admissions process, criteria, additional requirements and costs• Induction, handbooks, support arrangements• Expectations – Charters?• Certificates, transcripts, the HEAR• Records of collaborative activity
Developing the ‘web portal’• Enhancing access focusing on different audiences• Access to additional sources• Opportunities for 2 and 3-way communication• User testing• Launch: Autumn 2013
Further informationWebsite:www.qaa.ac.uk/qualitycodeEmail:email@example.comSign up to QAA News:www.qaa.ac.uk/Newsroom/News/Pages/QAA-news-alert.aspx