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					1   Quality Assurance and Enhancement

                                  Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                  Updated Sept. 2009
1   Quality Assurance and Enhancement

    1.1   Introduction

    1.2   Principles underlying quality assurance and enhancement

    1.3   Engagement with external quality assurance and enhancement

    1.4   Engagement with internal quality enhancement

    1.5   Overview of the quality assurance and enhancement systems

                                                     Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                     Updated Sept. 2009
1.1         Introduction

1        The Quality Handbook outlines the structures, policies and procedures which contribute to
         academic quality assurance and enhancement at the University of Bedfordshire. The
         Quality Handbook is intended for staff use and reviewed on a regular basis.

1.1.1 Educational vision
1         The University’s vision is of a University of Bedfordshire graduate who is knowledgeable,
          critical and creative; who understands who they are and what they want to achieve; who
          can communicate effectively, evidence attainments and function in context, and who has
          the skills, self-confidence and self-regulatory abilities to manage their own development.
          Such a graduate is eminently employable, capable of working with and learning from
          others, of adding significantly to their local community and prepared for life in an ever-
          changing environment.

1.1.2 General educational aims

1         The University’s general educational aims are the development of students’:

                   intellectual and imaginative powers,
                   understanding and judgement,
                   problem solving skills,
                   ability to communicate,
                   ability to see relationships within what they have learned,
                   ability to perceive their field of study in a broader perspective.

2         Each student’s programme of study must stimulate an enquiring, analytical and creative
          approach, encouraging independent judgement and critical self-awareness, and the
          development of those transferable skills which the University requires students to

1.1.3       Key documents

1         These educational aims have been consolidated into three key documents:

                   the University’s strategic plan 2007-2012

                   the Education Strategy (2008-2013): Transformational Education (incorporating
                    CRe8, the curriculum framework)

                   the new University of Bedfordshire Regulations

1.1.4       Management of quality and standards

1         In developing its systems for managing academic quality and standards, the University
          has been guided by the National Academic Infrastructure and by the commitment to a
          partnership between the academic departments and their faculties, the Quality
          Directorate, the Directorate of Teaching and Learning, the Centre for Excellence in
          Teaching and Learning, the Directorate of Learning Resources and Student Services,
          and the Office of the Dean of Students.

1.1.5 Enhancement of the Student Experience

    Graduate is used here as a generic term to encompass students who complete any University of Bedfordshire award

                                                                        Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                                        Updated Sept. 2009
1   The University aims to promote continuous improvements in the student experience. It is
    the responsibility of all members of staff to identify ways in which the student experience
    can be enhanced, and their initiatives are endorsed through committees accountable to
    the Academic Board, such as the Teaching Quality and Standards Committee. The
    cycles of course approval, monitoring and review are the means through which the
    University initiates and responds to enhancements in the quality of the student experience
    and the imperative to sustain national academic standards. The Student Consultative
    Committee and the Students’ Union and University Liaison Group are central to the quality
    assurance and enhancement framework. Evidence from external as well as internal
    evaluation mechanisms informs the deliberations of committees at University and Faculty

                                                         Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                         Updated Sept. 2009
1.2       Principles underpinning quality assurance and enhancement

1     The University’s approach to quality assurance and enhancement is underpinned by the
      following principles. Although special circumstances may apply to specific programmes,
      these underlying principles apply to all programmes of study, whether delivered on or off
      campus. In discharging its responsibilities the University acknowledges the diversity of the
      student body and its awards.

      a      Students are entitled to excellent teaching, in pursuit of which the quality of
             individual courses and the overall student learning experience can always be

      b      Academic decisions are made collectively by committees with secure lines of
             accountability to the Academic Board;

      c      Engagement takes place with stakeholders, notably students, through appropriate
             representation, consultation and feedback mechanisms;

      d      External and internal reference points are appropriately used, including the Quality
             Assuance Agency’s Academic Infrastructure and the requirements and expectations
             of the Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs);

      e      Judgements about academic quality and standards are made by groups of
             academic and professional peers, involving individuals from outside the University,
             who are able to debate matters from a range of educational standpoints and give
             due consideration to students’ employability;

      f      Responsibility for curriculum delivery and management rests with course teams,
             which are accountable through Faculty Boards to the Academic Board for the
             effective management of academic standards and the quality assurance and
             enhancement of all educational provision within their remit;

      g      Collaborative provision is approached through the Faculties, which are responsible
             for the quality and standards of curricula offered by partner institutions both in the
             UK and overseas;

      h      Management information – both qualitative and quantitative – is used to support the
             university’s quality assurance and enhancement processes.

                                                             Quality Assurance and Enhancement
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1.3    Engagement with external quality assurance and enhancement

1     The University sets out its own quality assurance processes within the context of national
      requirements and guidance. The Academic Registrar is the University’s formal
      correspondent with external quality assurance bodies, the Quality Assurance Agency
      (QAA) and Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs), and is responsible for
      managing the corporate responsibility between the University and individual PSRBs.

      The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)

2     The QAA has four key reference points – known as the ‘Academic Infrastructure’ –
      constituting the basis for UK higher education quality assurance processes:

         the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
         the Code of Practice;
         Subject benchmark statements;
         Programme Specifications.

3     The University’s Regulations and procedures embrace the requirements of the QAA’s
      Framework for Higher Education Qualifications, the Code of Practice and Programme
      Specifications. Full consideration of subject benchmark statements is a matter for staff
      teams, to reassure the Faculty Teaching Quality and Standards Committees and the
      University’s Teaching Quality and Standards Committee about the course approval,
      annual monitoring and periodic course review processes.

      Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ)

4     The FHEQ has been formulated to promote public understanding and confidence in
      academic standards and aims to provide:

        clear and accurate information about the purposes and outcomes of UK higher
         education in a form that will be useful to all of its stakeholders;

        a structure of shared, explicit reference points by which to distinguish the character,
         the credit framework, the level and intended learning outcomes of higher education

        the basis for a consistent use of qualification titles within higher education.

5      The framework also helps higher education institutions, students and employers operate
       in the international higher education market, notably in relation to the requirements of the
       Bologna Declaration on European Higher Education (1999), of which the UK is a

6      Universities are expected to comply. All courses at the University of Bedfordshire are
       designed, validated and reviewed in terms of the FHEQ.

      The QAA’s Code of Practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in
      higher education

7     The Code identifies a series of system-wide expectations covering matters relating to the
      management of academic quality and standards in higher education, providing reference
      points for institutions as they systematically assure the academic quality and standards of
      their programmes, awards and qualifications. The University maps its own procedures and
      guidance against the precepts embedded in the QAA’s Code, as updated from time to
      time, to ensure that it continues to meet best national practice. Staff may therefore be

                                                              Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                              Updated Sept. 2009
     confident that by conforming to University Regulations and procedures they are complying
     with the various sections of the Code.

     Subject Benchmarking

8    Benchmark statements have been published by the QAA in defined subject areas. They
     are statements of what the relevant national academic communities consider to be valid
     frames of reference within which an Honours degree, and increasingly a Masters degree,
     in a specific discipline should be offered. The statements provide frameworks for
     developing and specifying the intended learning outcomes of courses, and for informing
     the public at large, potential students, employers and other stakeholders about the nature
     of HE awards, the range of provision in particular subject/discipline areas, and the
     standards that might be expected of graduates. They are not definitive regulatory criteria
     for individual courses (indicative of a national curriculum) but they do provide authoritative
     points of reference.
9    Relevant benchmark statements are formally reviewed, and used in the design,
     implementation, monitoring and review of courses and their constituent units. The
     University derives confidence that the University’s courses are aligned with the subject
     benchmarks statements through its various external peer group review procedures.

     Programme Specifications

10   Programme (course in the University’s terminology) specifications define courses in such
     a way that students are able to compare different offerings and make sensible choices
     about the courses they wish to take. The specifications provide, inter alia, details about
     the intended learning outcomes of courses in terms of:

      The knowledge and understanding that a student will be expected to have on completion;

      Cognitive skills, such as an understanding of methodologies or ability in critical

      Subject specific skills, such as laboratory skills;

      Key skills: communication, numeracy, use of information technology, learning to learn.

11   The University’s form for programme specifications is known as the Course Information
     Form (CIF). Course Information Forms must be used to define all programmes, and the
     pro-forma is available on the intranet.

     National Occupational Standards

12   National Occupational Standards (NOS) provide an appropriate external reference point in
     a range of vocational areas. Courses in subject areas where there are NOSs at HE level
     1 (HE L4) and above demonstrate, at the point of approval, how they are mapped against
     the relevant NOS and hence how they prepare students for employment in these sectors.

     Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) Requirements

13   Wherever appropriate the University seeks accreditation for its courses by the relevant
     PSRB, and where this has been obtained the University remains subject to periodic
     review by the PSRB.

     Foundation degrees

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14   Foundation degrees are developed in line with the requirements of the University’s
     framework for foundation degrees, the QAA’s Foundation Degree Qualification
     Benchmark and, where available, the foundation degree frameworks of the appropriate
     Sector Skills Council (SSC) or Standards Setting Body (SSB).


     Southern England Consortium for Credit Accumulation and Transfer (SEEC)
15   The University is a member of SEEC and uses the SEEC Level Descriptors to inform the
     University of Bedfordshire’s level descriptors.

                                                       Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                       Updated Sept. 2009
1.4 Engagement with internal quality enhancement

1.4.1 University’s curriculum framework (CRe8).

1     The Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) is leading the development
      of the University’s curriculum to provide students with effective transitions from their
      previous educational experience through the University and onwards to employability.
      The key outcomes are enshrined in the University’s Curriculum framework (CRe8).

2    As courses come forward for approval or review they demonstrate that they have
     addressed the core requirements of Cre8 within the context of their own subject needs
     and those of their students. In particular, staff teams ensure that all courses engage with:

     a     personalised learning (incorporating personal development planning) which
           embraces a range of approaches to learning that connect planning (an individual's
           goals and intentions for learning or achievement), doing (aligning actions to
           intentions), recording (thoughts, ideas, experiences, in order to understand and
           evidence the process and results of learning) and reflection (reviewing and
           evaluating experiences and the results of learning);

     b     a structured curriculum which considers student development across the full course
           and uses a blended learning approach to address core learning outcomes;

     c     delivery which makes the learning experience meaningful, active, reflective
           collaborative and challenging;

     d     employability (including students being given the opportunity for structured and
           supported career guidance);

     e     assessment (including an emphasis on students constructively using feedback to
           improve performance).

3     The CETL is also leading the University’s adoption, from 2010, of the Higher Education
      Achievement Record (HEAR), which will record the students’ academic attainments in
      more detail alongside verifiable extracurricular activities, for example volunteering work.

1.4.2 Student representation and feedback

1     Students play a critical part in the evaluation, development and enhancement of quality.
      Feedback from students is essential for the University to identify issues and areas for
      quality improvement, as well as to learn from those areas where quality is seen as of a
      high standard. The gathering of student feedback is done in a variety of methods.

2     Students are represented on committees at course, field, Faculty and University level and
      the Students’ Union runs a programme of training each year to enable student
      representatives on committees to serve effectively.

3     The Student Consultative Committee acts as a channel of communication between the
      student body and the University on the outcomes of surveys and on policy development
      affecting the student experience.

4     In addition, sabbatical officers of the Students’ Union meet key members of the University
      Corporate Management Team through the Students’ Union and University Liaison Group
      on a monthly basis for day-to-day operational matters.

                                                            Quality Assurance and Enhancement
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1.5 Overview of the quality assurance and enhancement systems

1   The University has established systems for quality assurance and enhancement that are
    designed to improve the quality of higher education for all students, to maintain national
    academic standards, and to provide up to date public information about courses. The key
    cycles and processes may be summarised as follows.

    Approval of new courses

2   This process aims to offer reassurance both internally and externally that:

    a     all new courses offered by the University are carefully planned by the University,
          and that academic management arrangements are in place to offer a high quality
          educational experience for all students;

    b     the University provides public information about the standards and quality of its
          courses and these are benchmarked against national standards as defined by the
          QAA and, where appropriate, by the requirements of Professional, Statutory and
          Regulatory Bodies (PSRBs) and other external agencies;

    c     staff are encouraged to develop new courses in response to students’ evolving
          educational, personal and employability needs, and in so doing are asked to
          evaluate their existing courses and to open them to the thinking and practices of
          external peers.

    Annual monitoring of courses

3   Annual monitoring at course level:

    a     provides the University with assurance about the standards and quality of its taught
          course provision;

    b     facilitates the identification and exchange of good practice to enhance students’
          learning opportunities;

    c     ensures the development of courses on the basis of documented evidence from a
          variety of sources including external examiners, academic staff, institutional
          managers, students and the student record system.

    Periodic course review

4   The principles underlying periodic course review are that:

    a     all courses are thoroughly evaluated to a planned and managed cycle, determined
          by the University, to ensure that they continue to offer students the highest possible
          quality of learning experience, to verify that they still meet external academic and
          professional standards, and to stimulate curriculum development in response to
          evolving internal and external expectations;

    b     judgements on the quality and standards of continuing courses are made on behalf
          of the University on the basis of external peer group review;

    c     the process may embrace a review of an individual course or a series of courses
          within the same cognate discipline.

    External examiner system

                                                          Quality Assurance and Enhancement
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5        External Examiners are appointed against clearly defined criteria by the Academic
         Registrar on behalf of the Academic Board on the recommendation of course teams and
         the Faculty Teaching Quality and Standards Committees. The University’s External
         Examiner system is designed to ensure that:

     a       the External Examiners can verify that the academic standards of the University’s
             awards have been set and maintained at the level prevailing in other universities in the
             United Kingdom;
     b       they contribute to the assessment process by approving assessment tasks which count
             towards the University’s awards and by moderating assessed work;
     c       as members of examination boards, they provide advice and guidance as appropriate to
             the University’s academic staff;
     d       they are required to produce an annual report for the Vice Chancellor which is
             considered by the teaching team and central departments.

6            Reflection on their reports leads to the enhancement of delivery and the maintenance of
             standards while the identification of good practice in teaching, learning and assessment
             is disseminated across the institution through synoptic analyses.

         Quality assurance of research degrees

7        The University operates the following procedures for monitoring the academic progress of
         its research students:

         a       each student’s research proposal is considered for approval by the University
                 Research Committee which also approves the establishment of an appropriate
                 supervisory team;

         b       the academic progress of all research students is monitored annually by the
                 supervisory team and reported to the Head of the Research Graduate School who
                 also meets individually with each student;

         c       a University-wide research training programme, benchmarked against the Joint
                 Statement of the Research Councils on Skills Training Requirements for research
                 students, is in operation.

         Institutional review of partner institutions

8        The purpose of these reviews is to support collaborative institutions in the delivery of their
         provision and to ensure the continued satisfactory operation of the institutional aspects of
         collaborative arrangements, based on such evidence as External Examiners’ reports,
         student feedback and staff reports. The first review normally takes place two years after
         the commencement of the collaborative provision, and thence on a five-year cycle.

         Student representation and feedback

9        Students are asked to complete the following questionnaires:
          the Unit Student Perception (USPs)
          the Student Experience Questionnaire (SEQ)
          the National Student Survey
          specific issue-based surveys initiated by central service departments.

10       These questionnaires are supplemented by departmental initiatives such as student focus

                                                                Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                                Updated Sept. 2009
11   Students are represented on committees at course, field, Faculty and University level and
     the Students’ Union runs a programme of training each year to enable student
     representatives on committees to serve effectively.

12   The Student Consultative Committee acts as a channel of communication between the
     student body and the University on the outcomes of surveys and on policy developments
     affecting the student experience.

13   In addition, sabbatical officers of the Students’ Union meet key members of the University
     Corporate Management Team through the Students’ Union and University Liaison Group
     on a monthly basis for day-to-day operational matters.

14   Where students have cause for complaint about the service they have received they have
     access to the University’s complaints procedure which is intended to provide an
     accessible, fair and straight-forward system which ensures an effective, prompt and
     appropriate response.

                                                          Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                          Updated Sept. 2009

     USP

     Student Experience Questionnaire

                               Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                               Updated Sept. 2009
Unit Student Perception Survey:
The Unit Student Perception Survey can be accessed on the online until the end of March each


                                                         Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                         Updated Sept. 2009
                                                                              Student Experience

The University is very interested in your views about your experience as a student. By completing this questionnaire
you can let us know what is important to you, what you value about the University and where you feel improvements
need to be made. The University's Academic Board, which includes student representatives, will consider your views
and agree an action plan. Your input is very valuable to us.
                                                                                 Professor Les Ebdon, Vice Chancellor

Your details
Please tick the relevant box for each question:

 1. What is the name of your course? (e.g. BA Accounting)

 2. What is your level of study?                   3. Where is your course based?
 Undergraduate Level 1                ■            Park Square Campus     ■       Putteridge Bury Campus                 ■
 Undergraduate Level 2                ■            Polhill Campus         ■       Health Care Site                       ■
 Undergraduate Level 3                ■                                           Partner College                        ■
 Masters                              ■
 4. Your age?         5. Your gender?        6. Fee paying status?            7. Where do you live during term time?
 18-21     ■          Female     ■           UK                ■              Privately rented accommodation      ■
 22-25     ■          Male       ■           EU (outside UK) ■                Halls of Residence                  ■
 26-39     ■                                 International     ■              Own home                            ■
 40+       ■

Your views                                                                              Agreement with statement
For each statement below, show the extent of your                                       5   Definitely Agree
agreement or disagreement by ticking one box which                                      4   Mostly Agree
reflects your current views, using the scale given.                                     3   Neither Agree nor Disagree
                                                                                        2   Mostly Disagree
                                                                                        1   Definitely Disagree

                                                                                  5            4         3        2          1
 8. Overall, I am satisfied with the quality of my course                        ■             ■        ■         ■          ■
 9. Overall, the teaching I have experienced on my course
    has been of good quality                                                     ■             ■        ■         ■          ■
 10. So far I have had an enjoyable experience at this University                ■             ■        ■         ■          ■
 11. I would recommend this University to a friend                               ■             ■        ■         ■          ■

 12. Based on the above questions, are there any particular positive or negative aspects you would like to highlight?

 Positive aspects                                                    Negative aspects

                                                                                            Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                                                            Updated Sept. 2009
                Your views (continued)                                       Agreement with statement         Importance to me
                For each statement below,                                    5   Definitely Agree             5   Very Important
                please rate the extent to
                which you agree with it AND
                                                                             4   Mostly Agree                 4   This matters to me
                the importance you give to                                   3   Neither Agree nor Disagree   3   Reasonably Important
                it, based on your current                                    2   Mostly Disagree              2   This matters less to me
                views.                                                       1   Definitely Disagree          1   Not Important

Learning Resources/Library                                                         5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
13. The library resources and services are good enough for my needs                ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
14. I have been able to access the IT facilities when I need to                    ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
15. I have found the staff in Learning Resources/Library helpful                   ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
16. The Learning Resources Centre/Library is a pleasant place to study             ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
17. I have been able to access printing and photocopying facilities
    when I need to                                                                 ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

Teaching on my course                                                              5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
18. Staff are good at explaining things to me                                      ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
19. Staff have made the subject interesting                                        ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
20. Staff are enthusiastic about what they are teaching                            ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
21. I find my course intellectually stimulating                                    ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

Assessment and feedback                                                            5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
22. The criteria used for marking have been clear in advance                       ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
23. Assessment arrangements and marking have been fair                             ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
24. I have been able to keep up with the volume of work on my course               ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
25. Feedback on my work has been prompt                                            ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
26. Feedback on my work has helped me clarify things I did not understand          ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

Academic Support                                                                   5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
27. My personal tutor responds when I need academic support and advice             ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
28. I have been able to contact teaching staff when I have needed                  ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
29. I have found staff in my faculty office helpful                                ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
30. At least two members of academic staff know my name                            ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

University Facilities                                                              5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
31. The social space at the university meets my needs                              ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
32. Access to sporting and gym facilities is good                                  ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
33. The catering facilities at the University meets my needs                       ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
34. The Centre for Personal and Career Development is useful                       ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
35. I have found the student advice and counselling services helpful               ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
36. I have received help with my English language skills when needed               ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
37. The services provided by the Students’ Union are good                          ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
38. I am happy with the on-site security measures                                  ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

Organisation and Management                                                        5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
39. The timetable works effectively as far as my activities are concerned          ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
40. Any changes in the course or teaching have been communicated effectively ■            ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
41. The course is well organised and runs smoothly                                 ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

Personal Development                                                               5      4   3    2    1     5      4    3    2     1
42. The course has helped me to present myself with confidence                     ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
43. My communications skills have improved                                         ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■
44. As a result of my course, I feel confident in tackling unfamiliar problems     ■      ■   ■    ■    ■     ■      ■    ■    ■     ■

               Thank you for completing this questionnaire. Original source of certain questions: HEFCE

                                                                                       Quality Assurance and Enhancement
                                                                                                       Updated Sept. 2009

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