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  • UK Quality Code for Higher EducationThe Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. Registered charity numbers 1062746 and SC037786

  • UK Quality Code for Higher EducationExpectations:Things higher education providers expect of each other and which the general public can expect of all higher education providers

  • Terms Defined or explained in the General Introduction to the Quality Code

  • Chapters of the Quality CodeA1: The national level

    A2: The subject and qualification level

    A3: The programme level

    A4: Approval and review

    A5: Externality

    A6: Assessment of achievement of learning outcomesB1: Programme design and approval

    B2: Admissions

    B3: Learning and teaching

    B4: Student support

    B5: Student engagement

    B6: Assessment of students and accreditation of prior learning

    B7: External examining

    B8: Programme monitoring and review

    B9: Complaints and appeals

    B10: Management of collaborative arrangements

    B11: Research degreesGeneral introduction

  • All students are treated fairly, equitably and as individuals. Students have the opportunity to contribute to the shaping of their learning experience. Students are properly and actively informed at appropriate times of matters relevant to their programmes of study. All policies and processes relating to study and programmes are clear and transparent. Strategic oversight of academic standards and academic quality is at the highest level of academic governance of the provider. All policies and processes are regularly and effectively monitored, reviewed and improved. Sufficient and appropriate external involvement exists for the maintenance of academic standards and the quality of learning opportunities. Staff are supported, enabling them in turn to support students' learning experiences. Overarching values

  • Who needs to know about the Quality Code?StudentsAcademic StaffEmployersProfessional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs)Quality ManagersOther stakeholder groups

  • Quality Code under constructionThe existing elements of the Academic Infrastructure put back together in a different orderSome reworking to cover topics in a more appropriate waySome completely new chapters e.g. student engagement

    Review and editing of the whole for consistency and to reduce duplication

  • Part A: Setting and maintaining threshold academic standardsPart B: Assuring and enhancing academic qualityMar 2012Part C: Information about higher education provisionOct 2011Chapter B7: External examiningJun 2012Chapter B11: Research degreesChapter B5: Student engagementSep 2012Chapter B3: Learning and teachingDec 2012Chapter B10: Management of collaborative arrangementsApr 2013Chapter B9: Complaints and appealsJul 2013Chapter B6: Assessment of students and accreditation of prior learningMar 2013Chapter B4: Student support, learning resources and careers education, information, advice and guidanceSep 2013Chapter B1: Programme design and approvalOct 2013Chapter B2: AdmissionsChapter B8: Programme monitoring and reviewJul 2013Chapter A1: The national levelChapter A2: The subject and qualification levelChapter A6: Assessment of achievement of learning outcomesChapter A3: The programme levelChapter A4: Approval and reviewChapter A5: ExternalityThe Quality Code Jigsaw

  • Timing issuesThe QAA have likened the launch of the Quality Code to the television digital switchoverThe Academic Infrastructure and the Quality Code were running in parallelThe Academic Infrastructure will cease to be used in QAA reviews from the start of academic year 2012-13 (calendar year 2013 for Educational Oversight reviews)When a new or revised chapter is published there will be a period of up to one year in which HE providers can consider what changes are needed to their procedures and practices


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    Further information

    This is designed as a set of slides which can be used, some or all, as appropriate to the audience in question*QAA is responsible for the UK Quality Code for Higher Education (Quality Code for short). This was launched in December 2011 and will replace the Academic Infrastructure as the series of national reference points used by higher education providers to help them assure and enhance academic quality and set and maintain the standards of academic awards.

    The Quality Code is a single code in three parts, as described on the slide. This structure reflects the desire of the sector to see a clearer distinction between those aspects which relate to academic standards and those relating to assuring and enhancing quality. Part C on providing information is a new feature (explained further below)

    The purpose of the Quality Code is:to safeguard the academic standards of UK higher education to assure the quality of the learning opportunities that UK higher education offers to students to promote continuous and systematic improvement in UK higher education to ensure that information about UK higher education is publicly available.The Quality Code applies to providers who deliver higher education reviewed by QAA in all four UK nations and overseas. It protects the interests of UK higher education students regardless of where they are studying or whether they are full-time, part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate students.

    The slide highlights two important features of the Quality Code(i) Expectations these are designed to reflect the sectors call for clarity on what is mandatory within the Code. A number of Expectations essentially one per chapter have been created setting out what HE providers expect of each other and what students and the general public can expect of HE providers. These are the elements of the Quality Code which HE providers are required to meet, and reviews conducted by QAA will determine whether they are being met.

    (ii) Indicators of sound practice. These are similar to the Precepts in the previous Code of Practice. They are designed to assist HE providers in determining how they will meet the Expectations. The Indicators are not mandatory and are not intended as a checklist. For example it is possible that there may be other ways of doing things which ensure the Expectations are met.

    The logo [which will zoom in on a click] illustrates the three parts of the Code, by reference to the colours, and will be used on all chapters to demonstrate that they are part of the single Quality code.

    *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 assurance

    These definitions of standards and quality and explanation of enhancement can be found in the General Introduction to the Quality Code:*

    As indicated above there are three parts to the Quality Code, held together by the General Introduction. This presents a much clearer structure for the single Quality Code, rather than the uncertainty that surrounded the components of the Academic Infrastructure.

    Parts A and B are divided into chapters, three of which are new, having been identified by the sector as omissions from the Academic Infrastructure: Learning & teaching, student engagement and student support. Part C, which is also new, is not divided into chapters.

    Most of Part A involves cross-referencing to relevant chapters in Part B, as some areas such as external examining and assessment relate to both standards and to quality.

    A1 includes the frameworks for higher education qualifications. A2 links to the subject benchmark statements and the Foundation degree qualification benchmark statement

    The structure is broadly designed around the notion of the student lifecycle; this should make it easier to follow*The Overarchin


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