5 June 2019

Reviewing the Quality Assessment Framework

I wrote recently about reviewing our Student Charter guidance – well, we are also reviewing our Quality Assessment Framework!

This is because the context of higher education continues to change. Since we published the framework originally, the Office for Students was formed, the revised Quality Code for Higher Education and associated guidance have been published, the ways in which international provision is assessed are under review, and work on degree standards progresses, with the recent publication of the UK-wide Degree classification: statement of intent.

We’re amending the framework to reflect these developments, as well as referencing our new procedures for assessing the quality of education.

As you might expect, this led us to consider other aspects of the framework, specifically the requirements for external quality assurance reviews. Those who are about to commission such a review will be pleased to know that we aren’t adding much, other than including updated references to the quality code and associated documents.

However, we have agreed with QAA, commissioned by universities in Wales to carry out the external quality assurance reviews using the Quality Enhancement Review method, that it doesn’t make sense for them to carry out this review against all elements of the baseline for the quality assessment framework, for example the relevant code of governance. We have therefore proposed to make it clearer that we expect external quality assurance reviews to consider quality and standards, including the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, and the expectations and core and common practices of the Quality Code for Higher Education.

As the changes to the Framework aren’t substantive, we are carrying out a ‘soft consultation.’ That means we are asking for the views of the QAA Wales Quality Network, the Universities Wales Pro Vice-Chancellors Learning and Teaching Advisory Group, the HE in FE network, NUS Wales and student unions.

If anyone else is interested in seeing the draft proposals and would like to comment, please contact me at cliona.oneill@hefcw.ac.ukby 12 June. We hope to have the final guidance approved and published in July 2019.

Cliona O’Neill, Head of Student Experience, HEFCW