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Quality Code

The academic quality framework established by Liverpool Hope University relating to Academic Quality reflects the expectations of all providers of Higher Education, as set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

The purpose of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education 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 UK Quality Code for Higher Education applies to all providers of UK higher education in all four nations and UK higher education delivered overseas. It protects the interests of all UK higher education students regardless of where they are studying or whether they are full-time, part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate students.

 

FHEQ

The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) is an important reference point for providers of higher education.

The FHEQ, and associated guidance for implementation, has been written to assist higher education providers to maintain academic standards; to inform international comparability of academic standards, especially in the European context; to ensure international competitiveness; and to facilitate student and graduate mobility.

The fundamental premise of the FHEQ is that qualifications should be awarded on the basis of achievement of outcomes and attainment rather than years of study. 

Qualification descriptors are key to this premise. Qualification descriptors set out the generic outcomes and attributes expected for the award of individual qualifications. The qualification descriptors contained in the FHEQ exemplify the outcomes and attributes expected of learning that results in the award of higher education qualifications.

Higher education providers should be able to demonstrate that all students commencing programmes after the start of the 2003-04 academic year would gain, on successful completion, qualifications that were awarded in accordance with the FHEQ.

All programmes offered by Liverpool Hope University reflect the expectations of the FHEQ (Levels 4-8). 

In addition Master's degree characteristics is provided by the QAA for those with an interest in, or responsibility for, master's degrees in the UK. This provides additional information for staff and wider stakeholders and is a key reference point.  

For those involved in Doctoral degrees, information on Doctoral Degree characteristics is also provided by the QAA.

Credit Framework

The Higher Education Credit Framework for England

Institutions use credit in the design of their programmes to indicate how much learning is expected to be undertaken.

The framework is premised on the concept of intended learning outcomes (statements of what the student is expected to know, understand and be able to do) which are approved by the HE awarding body for individual modules/units, and for programmes as a whole, and which are assessed.

The credits assigned to each module or unit are based on the approximate number of hours a typical student is expected to spend learning to achieve the learning outcomes for that module (notional hours of learning). There is broad agreement amongst institutions in England that one credit represents 10 notional hours of learning. This includes not only formal contact hours, but also preparation for these, private reading and study, and the completion of formative assessment tasks and revision.

Credit levels are typically aligned to the levels of the FHEQ which span study in HE. These commence at level 4 (in succession to levels 1-3 which precede higher education) and extend to level 8. HE providers use credit level descriptors to assist in determining the level of credit assigned to individual units which comprise programmes of study. Often, programmes leading to HE qualifications, typically those taken over a number of years, include modules or units from more than one level.

Credit level descriptors are guides that identify the relative complexity, intellectual challenge, depth of learning and learner autonomy expected at each level and the differences between the levels. They reflect a range of factors including: the complexity and depth of knowledge and understanding; links to associated academic, vocational or professional practice; the degree of integration, independence and creativity required; the range and sophistication of application/practice; the role(s) taken in relation to other learners/workers in carrying out tasks. They are used as general descriptions of the learning involved at a particular level, and are not specific requirements of what must be covered in a module or unit.

Subject Benchmarks

Subject benchmark statements describe the attributes, skills and capabilities that a graduate with an honours degree in a specific subject might be expected to have. Each statement has been written by a group of academics and other specialists (such as representatives from professional bodies, industry and commerce) from the subject area. The benchmark statements help to ensure that the standards of degree programmes across the UK meet an agreed level. Benchmark statements are not a national curriculum in a subject but are intended to make it easier to understand the broad standard required for a qualification in a specific programme of study.

For more information on subject benchmark statements please see the QAA website. 

Liverpool Hope uses these statements in a number of ways, including as a reference for writing programme specifications and for internal quality assurance purposes. When new benchmark statements are published, these are circulated to relevant academic staff for information. When benchmark statements are revised and drafts are issued for consultation, these are circulated to relevant academic staff for comment and discussion. Comments are then fed back to the QAA to inform the development of the final version.

In view of the variety and specialised nature of taught Masters programmes, QAA has not attempted to produce subject benchmark statements for postgraduate programmes except for Business and Management / MBAs. Instead, for the majority of Masters programmes, QAA has limited itself to issuing a generic 'Masters' descriptor' as part of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. This descriptor provides a general summary of the knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes that should be possessed by any holder of a Masters degree. 

Additional Links

Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditation is a general term used to describe organisations which are authorised to accredit, approve or recognise specific programmes in the context of the requirements of the PSRB.

Why are they important?

A valued feature of the University's undergraduate and postgraduate provision is the number of degree programmes which are accredited by a PSRB. The University aims to ensure that all its programmes which are eligible for PSRB accreditation secure and retain the accreditation. This is just one of many ways the University ensures that professional standards and quality are maintained and that students gain the skills and knowledge required by employers.

A PSRB normally accredits a programme for a specific number of years after which they return to review and re-accredit the programmes for the next period. All PSRB accreditation and review reports are reported to the University's Academic Committee and noted at Senate.

Current subjects carrying PSRB accreditation can be found here.

Quality Code

The academic quality framework established by Liverpool Hope University relating to Academic Quality reflects the expectations of all providers of Higher Education, as set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education.

The purpose of the UK Quality Code for Higher Education 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 UK Quality Code for Higher Education applies to all providers of UK higher education in all four nations and UK higher education delivered overseas. It protects the interests of all UK higher education students regardless of where they are studying or whether they are full-time, part-time, undergraduate or postgraduate students.

 

FHEQ

The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) is an important reference point for providers of higher education.

The FHEQ, and associated guidance for implementation, has been written to assist higher education providers to maintain academic standards; to inform international comparability of academic standards, especially in the European context; to ensure international competitiveness; and to facilitate student and graduate mobility.

The fundamental premise of the FHEQ is that qualifications should be awarded on the basis of achievement of outcomes and attainment rather than years of study. 

Qualification descriptors are key to this premise. Qualification descriptors set out the generic outcomes and attributes expected for the award of individual qualifications. The qualification descriptors contained in the FHEQ exemplify the outcomes and attributes expected of learning that results in the award of higher education qualifications.

Higher education providers should be able to demonstrate that all students commencing programmes after the start of the 2003-04 academic year would gain, on successful completion, qualifications that were awarded in accordance with the FHEQ.

All programmes offered by Liverpool Hope University reflect the expectations of the FHEQ (Levels 4-8). 

In addition Master's degree characteristics is provided by the QAA for those with an interest in, or responsibility for, master's degrees in the UK. This provides additional information for staff and wider stakeholders and is a key reference point.  

For those involved in Doctoral degrees, information on Doctoral Degree characteristics is also provided by the QAA.

Credit Framework

The Higher Education Credit Framework for England

Institutions use credit in the design of their programmes to indicate how much learning is expected to be undertaken.

The framework is premised on the concept of intended learning outcomes (statements of what the student is expected to know, understand and be able to do) which are approved by the HE awarding body for individual modules/units, and for programmes as a whole, and which are assessed.

The credits assigned to each module or unit are based on the approximate number of hours a typical student is expected to spend learning to achieve the learning outcomes for that module (notional hours of learning). There is broad agreement amongst institutions in England that one credit represents 10 notional hours of learning. This includes not only formal contact hours, but also preparation for these, private reading and study, and the completion of formative assessment tasks and revision.

Credit levels are typically aligned to the levels of the FHEQ which span study in HE. These commence at level 4 (in succession to levels 1-3 which precede higher education) and extend to level 8. HE providers use credit level descriptors to assist in determining the level of credit assigned to individual units which comprise programmes of study. Often, programmes leading to HE qualifications, typically those taken over a number of years, include modules or units from more than one level.

Credit level descriptors are guides that identify the relative complexity, intellectual challenge, depth of learning and learner autonomy expected at each level and the differences between the levels. They reflect a range of factors including: the complexity and depth of knowledge and understanding; links to associated academic, vocational or professional practice; the degree of integration, independence and creativity required; the range and sophistication of application/practice; the role(s) taken in relation to other learners/workers in carrying out tasks. They are used as general descriptions of the learning involved at a particular level, and are not specific requirements of what must be covered in a module or unit.

Subject Benchmarks

Subject benchmark statements describe the attributes, skills and capabilities that a graduate with an honours degree in a specific subject might be expected to have. Each statement has been written by a group of academics and other specialists (such as representatives from professional bodies, industry and commerce) from the subject area. The benchmark statements help to ensure that the standards of degree programmes across the UK meet an agreed level. Benchmark statements are not a national curriculum in a subject but are intended to make it easier to understand the broad standard required for a qualification in a specific programme of study.

For more information on subject benchmark statements please see the QAA website. 

Liverpool Hope uses these statements in a number of ways, including as a reference for writing programme specifications and for internal quality assurance purposes. When new benchmark statements are published, these are circulated to relevant academic staff for information. When benchmark statements are revised and drafts are issued for consultation, these are circulated to relevant academic staff for comment and discussion. Comments are then fed back to the QAA to inform the development of the final version.

In view of the variety and specialised nature of taught Masters programmes, QAA has not attempted to produce subject benchmark statements for postgraduate programmes except for Business and Management / MBAs. Instead, for the majority of Masters programmes, QAA has limited itself to issuing a generic 'Masters' descriptor' as part of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications. This descriptor provides a general summary of the knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes that should be possessed by any holder of a Masters degree. 

Additional Links

Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) accreditation is a general term used to describe organisations which are authorised to accredit, approve or recognise specific programmes in the context of the requirements of the PSRB.

Why are they important?

A valued feature of the University's undergraduate and postgraduate provision is the number of degree programmes which are accredited by a PSRB. The University aims to ensure that all its programmes which are eligible for PSRB accreditation secure and retain the accreditation. This is just one of many ways the University ensures that professional standards and quality are maintained and that students gain the skills and knowledge required by employers.

A PSRB normally accredits a programme for a specific number of years after which they return to review and re-accredit the programmes for the next period. All PSRB accreditation and review reports are reported to the University's Academic Committee and noted at Senate.

Current subjects carrying PSRB accreditation can be found here.