THE QAA ACADEMIC INFRASTRUCTURE by hcj

VIEWS: 11 PAGES: 4

									THE ACADEMIC INFRASTRUCTURE - AT JMU

The academic infrastructure incorporates the following elements

   The Code of Practice for Assurance of Quality and Standards within HE
   The Guidelines for the preparation of Programme specifications.
   The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)
   The Subject Benchmark Statements for 42 subject areas

Action undertaken at JMU in relation to each of the above, can be summarised as follows:

1. The Code of Practice for Assurance of Quality and Standards within HE

During 2000/01, the Quality and Standards Enhancement Committee (QSEC) established a
working group to review the alignment of practices within JMU with precepts of the Code. This
group received reports from the Directors of Service with responsibilities for the areas of work
covered by the Code.

The relevant Directors presented reports of the alignment of their work with the precepts in the
Code and identified areas for action. These reports were considered by QSEC (Appendix 1). As
appropriate, any subsequent changes to University policy were approved by the Academic Board.
Directors undertook to take necessary action, where it was possible to do so.

During 2003 and 2004, each Director was invited back to Quality and Standards Committee (QSC)
(new title, post re-structuring) to confirm completion of the planned action. For example, the Head of
the Graduate School confirmed in Nov-02 that actions in respect of section 1 of the Code had been
completed.

The Learning Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Strategy
The initial University LTA strategy was organised around the following 5 themes, and initiatives in
each of these areas have been undertaken to align practices with expectations in relevant sections
of the Code.
 Effective and efficient Assessment
 Curricular enhancement for employability
 Enhanced learner support
 Promotion of ICT for learning
 Staff development for learning, teaching and assessment

The JMU Assessment Review
Analyses of the outcomes of subject review and ‘TQA’ revealed that assessment practices were
identified as an area of weakness in the majority of cases. Hence in 1999-2000 a review of the
assessment practices within the University was commissioned by the Vice Chancellor. The review
was led by the Director of Learning Innovation and Development and resulted in the production of
some University Assessment Requirements: Recommendations and Guidelines. These were
approved by the Academic Board and then published in a user-friendly guide, distributed to all
teaching staff and made available via the Learning Development website in April 2002 and (updated
version) in July 2003.


Quality Support, Mar-03, updated Aug-04                                                               1
2. The Guidelines for the preparation of Programme specifications.

Following publication of the QAA guidelines for programme specifications, in 2000/01, the
University Quality and Standards Enhancement Committee set up a short life working group
comprising representatives from all Schools to propose a policy and strategy in respect of
programme specifications at JMU. The policy is that a current programme specification is
required, by 2005-06, for all programmes leading to a JMU award. The strategy was updated in
2003/04, and approved at Quality and Standards Committee, and has several key features as
follows.

Programme specifications
 are required when a programme is subject to validation, review or a visit by the QAA. In this way
   they are normally the result of curriculum development;
 will, from September 2004, be subject to formal approval by validation and review panels. This
   is a new requirement, previously the programme specifications were deemed to be the property
   of a programme team and only subject to ratification by panels;
 should contain designated information in the format of template 3 of the QAA PS guidelines;
 are to be written assuming that the readers will be academic colleagues in the first instance;
 may make reference to one or more appropriate subject benchmark statement(s), according to
   their availability in the cognate subject area, and the relevance or suitability of the elements
   within the benchmark statement, in terms of the specified programme;
 may contain a mapping of the module learning outcomes against the programme learning
   outcomes. This may also indicate where the outcomes are taught, practised or assessed. [The
   module map will not be part of the published programme specification on the JMU CWIS];
 whilst it is the case that most learning outcomes will be assessed, there is no expectation that
   absolutely all programme learning outcomes should be assessed. There may be some
   expected outcomes that do not readily lend themselves to assessment.

Targeted staff development workshops with programme teams were provided for the first 12
months during which programme specifications were written, (2001/02) in order to ‘pump prime’ the
activity. This approach resulted in an easy consensus and rapid adoption of the device. Bespoke
staff development continues to be available and is provided by the Learning Development Unit.

The approach to development of programme specifications has adopted a phased introduction of
programme specifications based on a curriculum development model. The decision by some other
HEIs to go for a single point of introduction of programme specifications was rejected as being a
weaker approach that might result in a mentality of ‘box filling’ rather than provide a useful device
for curriculum development and checking the internal consistency of programmes.

The next stage was to assess and review the robustness of the programme specifications, which
happened during 2003/04 as they were migrated into an electronic format for publication in a new
Product Catalogue. The Product Catalogue is under development and should enable publication
and on line development of programme specifications by January 2005.

3. The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)

The University has operated with a modular credit accumulation and transfer scheme since 1990,
this has required the use of an outcome based learning model. The specification of learning
outcomes was initially on the basis of the module and the level of learning and gradually this
developed in the 1990’s into programme learning outcomes. The regulations for the modular
scheme, now known as the University Modular Framework (UMF Vol. 1), are available on the
intranet or CWIS. These regulations contain the NICATS level descriptors and some qualifications
descriptors. The NICATs descriptors pre-dated the FHEQ and were one of the influences in the
formation of the FHEQ.


Quality Support, Mar-03, updated Aug-04                                                                 2
All standard JMU programmes are written to the UMF regulations and the NICATS descriptors
provide a useful guide to specification of learning outcomes at each level. Validation events require
that programme teams defend the learning outcomes expressed for each module, level and the
overall programme learning outcomes. Therefore consistency with the FHEQ is implicit within JMU
programmes. There has not been a clear requirement on the part of the QAA or the University to
express level learning outcomes in the programme specifications. Instead these emphasise the
articulation between module outcomes and programme outcomes.


4. The Subject Benchmark Statements for 42 subject areas

Several members of staff from JMU have served as members or chairs of subject benchmarking
groups. The variety of forms within the published statements means that it is difficult to ascribe a
single approach to their use. In general, there is a broad requirement within the University quality
assurance processes that, where appropriate, programme teams make reference to one or more
subject benchmark statements. Alternative reference points may also be used, such as External
Examiners, eminent professionals or PSRBs, or the views from industrialists with whom there is
contact.

The University response to the consultation on the first group of subject benchmark statements
indicated that they were considered to be the weakest part of the Academic Infrastructure. This is
attributed to the variety of formats and the general lack of consistency between them. In addition,
the limited number of mainly single subject disciplines for which they are written means that there
will always be some innovative subjects for which benchmark statements do not exist. Whether this
matters remains to be seen.




Quality Support, Mar-03, updated Aug-04                                                                3
QAA Code of Practice for the Assurance of Academic Quality and Standards in Higher Education
Section of the Code                                      Status at 6 September 2004                              Designation1
1. Postgraduate research programmes,                     Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Head of Research
Draft for consultation, June 2004                        action, and position papers recd. by QSEC 2.5.01 [3I    & Graduate School
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/COP/cop/draft/Section1C      00/01, 4I 00/01]. Confirmation of outstanding actions
onsultation.pdf
                                                         reported to QSEC 6.11.02 [2B 02/03]
2. Collaborative provision and flexible and              Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Directors of
distributed learning (including e-learning)              action paper recd. by QSEC 13.7.01 [3K 00/01].          Partnerships &
Draft for consultation, January 2004                     Progress update to QSC 10.12.03                         Widening
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/COP/cprovis/draft/draftC                                                             Participation and
ollabProvis.pdf
                                                                                                                 QUS
3. Students with disabilities                            Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Director of Student
October 1999                                             action, and position papers recd. by QSEC 5.12.01       Services
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/COP/COPswd/COP_disa          [2D 01/02, 3D 01/02]. Progress update to QSC
b.pdf
                                                         10.12.03
4. External examining                                    Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Director of QUS
Draft for consultation, November 2003                    action, and position papers recd. by QSEC 2.5.01 [3I
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/COP/COPee/draft/conten       00/01, 4I 00/01]. Further information recd by QSC
ts.htm
                                                         6.6.01 [2J 00/01]. Progress update to QSEC 7.11.03,
                                                         6.2.02, 5.3.03 and to QSC 7.5.03, 10.12.03
5. Academic appeals and student                          Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Director of Student
complaints                                               action, and position papers recd. by QSEC 2.5.01 [3I    Services
March 2000                                               00/01, 4I 00/01]. Progress update to QSC 10.12.03
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/COP/COPappcomp/COP
_complaints.pdf
6. Assessment of students                                Review of compliance has taken place as part of the     Director of
May 2000                                                 Assessment Review. Recommendations for action           Learning
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/Cop/COPaosfinal/COP_A        incorporated into report to Academic Board 4.6.01.      Innovation
OS.pdf
                                                         Proposals & action, and position papers recd. by
                                                         QSEC 6.5.01 [2J 00/01, 3J 00/01]. Progress update to
                                                         QSC 10.12.03
7. Programme approval, monitoring and                    Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Director of QUS
review                                                   action, and position papers recd. by QSEC 2.5.01 [3I
May 2000                                                 00/01, 4I 00/01]. Further information recd by QSC
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/Cop/COPpamr/COP_pro          6.6.01 [2J 00/01] and 5.9.01 [6A 01/02]. Progress
gapprov.pdf
                                                         update to QSC 10.12.03
8. Career education information and                      Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Director of
guidance                                                 action, and position papers recd. by QSEC 5.12.01       Learning
January 2001                                             [2D 01/02 3D 01/02]. Progress update to QSC             Innovation
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/Cop/COPcex/careereduc        10.12.03
ation.pdf
9. Placement learning                                    Review of compliance has taken place. Proposals &       Director of
July 2001                                                position paper recd. by QSEC 6.3.02 [2&3F 01/02].       Learning
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/Cop/COPplacementFinal/       Progress update to QSC 10.12.03                         Innovation
PlacementLearning.pdf
10. Recruitment and admissions                           Review of compliance has taken place. Position table    Director of
September 2001                                           and admissions policy & code of practice recd. by       Marketing
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/cop/copadmiss/Recruitm       QSEC 6.11.02 [tabled]. Updated position table and
entandAdmissions.pdf
                                                         admissions policy & code of practice recd. by QSC
                                                         5.3.03 [02/03 B2, 02/03 B3].Progress update to QSC
                                                         10.12.03
Guidelines on the quality assurance of                   Review of consistency has taken place. Reported         Director of
distance learning, March 1999                            through QSEC 6.6.01 [7J 00/01], 7.11.01 and APLC        Learning
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/dlg/contents.htm             26.10.01. JMU DL guidelines disseminated                Innovation
Guidelines on the accreditation of prior                 Review of consistency is taking place. Discussed at     Director of
learning                                                 APEL Forum 15.12.03. QAA draft guidelines               Learning
Draft for consultation, February 2004                    responded to 17.2.04. APEL Workshop 12.5 04             Innovation
http://www.qaa.ac.uk/public/apel/draft/draft_guideline   observed requirements of draft guidelines
s.pdf



1   Designation at 1 September 2004, post organisational review.
Quality Support, Mar-03, updated Aug-04                                                                                                4

								
To top