Core Practices

Like all Higher Education providers in the UK, the UK Quality Code states we must meet certain Core Practices for Assessment, that the QAA have set out within their Expectations for this area. See How we do things for our approach in meeting these.

The required Core Practices for Assessment are:

Core Practices: Standards

  • The provider ensures that the threshold standards for its qualifications are consistent with the relevant national qualifications frameworks.
  • The provider ensures that students who are awarded qualifications have the opportunity to achieve standards beyond the threshold level that are reasonably comparable with those achieved in other UK providers.
    • In practice, this means that learning outcomes are specified for each course, consistent with the relevant national qualification frameworks’ descriptors, and Assessment determines whether each student has achieved them. Providers operate processes that ensure learning outcomes are consistent with the requirements of the relevant national qualifications frameworks. They ensure assessments measure the extent to which students achieve the learning outcomes both at, and beyond, the threshold level. Providers also ensure measurement and representation of students’ achievement beyond the threshold is reasonably comparable with those of other UK providers.  This occurs via external examining and the use of external input and/or reference points in course design and assessment frameworks.
  • Where a provider works in partnership with other organisations, it has in place effective arrangements to ensure that the standards of its awards are credible and secure irrespective of where or how courses are delivered or who delivers them.
    • In practice, this means that degree-awarding bodies remain responsible for the academic standards of all credit and qualifications granted in their name; this responsibility is never delegated. They ensure that any partner involved in design or delivery of assessment understands and follows the requirements they approve.
  • The provider uses external expertise, assessment and classification processes that are reliable, fair and transparent.
    • In practice, this means that providers operate processes for assessment and classification that ensure student achievement is measured reliably, fairly and transparently. They use External Examiners for independent confirmation that their processes have been applied appropriately and ensure qualifications have been awarded equitably and in accordance with national standards. Providers also make sure assessment policies and procedures are published and readily accessible to all stakeholders.

Common Practice for Standards:

The QAA Quality Code also has a Common Practice for Assessment that whilst not mandatory for us to follow, we still feel is relevant to us and that we can show we do it. It is:

  • The provider reviews its core practices for standards regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
    • In practice, this means that providers regularly review their assessment policies, procedures and processes as they relate to standards to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

Core Practices for Quality:

  • The provider designs and / or delivers high-quality courses
    • In practice, this means that providers operate processes that ensure learning outcomes are consistent with the requirements of the relevant national qualification frameworks. They ensure that Assessment measures the learning outcomes for the course, supports students’ learning, and is appropriately tailored to different environments, e.g. in the workplace for some apprenticeships. Providers operate effective institutional policies and procedures on assessment design and delivery.
  • The provider has sufficient appropriately qualified and skilled staff to deliver a high-quality academic experience.
    • In practice, this means that providers ensure that recruitment, progression and development of staff involved in teaching and assessment includes consideration of their knowledge and expertise in Assessment.

Common Practices for Quality:

  • The provider reviews its core practices for quality regularly and uses the outcomes to drive improvement and enhancement.
  • The provider’s approach to managing quality takes account of external expertise.
  • The provider engages students individually and collectively in the development, assurance and enhancement of the quality of their educational experience.
    • In practice, this means that providers regularly review and enhance assessment policies, procedures and processes as they relate to Quality, to ensure they remain fit for purpose and take account of changing circumstance, demands and pedagogical developments. They consider and act on reports of External Examiners, focus on assessment in their course reviews, and engage students in the development, assurance and enhancement of the quality of their student experience.