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Quality Assurance and Professional Accreditation - national developments

Quality Assurance and Professional Accreditation - national developments

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Quality Assurance and Professional Accreditation - national developments

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  1. Quality Assurance and Professional Accreditation -national developments Bryan Maguire Higher Education & Training Awards Council “And never the twain shall meet”? – conference exploring quality assurance and professional accreditation/recognition in a changing world 17 October, 2006

  2. Outline • Change in the professions • Change in education and training systems • national framework of qualifications • quality assurance • Approaches to accreditation • Issues arising

  3. Education and the Professions • Universities were originally founded, in part, to educate for the professions • Professional bodies have maintained independence of government and providers • Recognition or accreditation of programmes of education and training is a mechanism of controlling entry to profession and maintaining standards

  4. Aspects of self-regulation • Pros • Flexibility in evolution of structures • Comparability with other jurisdictions (common vs civil law) • Consumer protection • Development of professions • Low cost • Cons • Lack of accountability • Small scale • System complexity • Inconsistency of practice • Limited enforcement

  5. Changing professional bodies • Increased regulatory functions • Health and Social Care Professions Act (2005) (displacing self-regulation onto new statutory body) • Building Control Bill (2006) (formalising regulatory function of existing bodies) • Growth of service economy • Increasing number of professions and professionals • Professionalisation of professional bodies • Complexification of professional practice and training

  6. Qualifications Framework • “a framework for the development, recognition and award of qualifications in the State, based on standards of knowledge, skill or competence to be acquired by learners” (Qualifications Act, 1999) • “The single, nationally and internationally accepted entity, through which all learning achievements may be measured and related to each other in a coherent way and which defines the relationship between all education and training awards” (Qualifications Authority, Policies & Criteria, April 2002)

  7. Purpose of framework • a coherent national policy approach to qualifications • lifelong learning society • new kinds of work and career • need for a more flexible system of qualifications • need for portability of qualifications • international comparison and alignment • European policy trends and “processes” – Lisbon, Copenhagen and Bologna

  8. Vision for the recognition of learning • Recognition of all learning activity undertaken throughout life, with the aim of improving knowledge, skills and competences within a personal, civic, social and/or employment-related perspective

  9. Framework outline • architecture: Levels, Award-types, Named Awards • a structure of 10 levels (lifelong learning) • level indicators of learning outcomes • 10 level grid of indicators, defined in terms of 8 dimensions of knowledge, know-how & skill and competence (‘substrands’)

  10. The National Framework of Qualifications – award-types and awarding bodies

  11. Professional awards and the framework • Professional awards as a system of learning recognition acknowledged by framework developers from the beginning • Policies and Criteria for the Inclusion in, or Alignment with, the National Framework of Qualifications of the Awards of Certain Awarding Bodies,published by the Authority in July 2006, following extensive consultation

  12. Inclusion & alignment • Group A: Irish bodies with statutory power to make awards (awards may be included) • Group B: Irish bodies with regulatory functions (learning outcomes of awards may be aligned with framework award-types or levels) • Group C: Bodies from outside the State, included in their home national frameworks, making awards to Irish learners, subject to quality assurance, (learning outcomes of awards may be aligned with framework award-types or levels)

  13. Professional awards outside the framework? • Inclusion/alignment voluntary processes • National policy, expressed in legislation, favours recognition through framework • Compatibility with broader international developments achieved through framework • Awards Councils will work with any body (whether or not eligible for inclusion/alignment) that wishes to develop Council awards for its field of learning

  14. Criteria applicable to all framework processes • Standards based on learning outcomes • Quality assurance arrangements • Fair and consistent assessment of learners • Arrangements for access, transfer and progression

  15. Quality assurance in HE • Growth internationally • Europe – ENQA, European Stds & Guides • Globally – INQAAHE, UNESCO/OECD guides • Three regimes in Ireland • Universities • HETAC • DIT • Shared interests – IHEQN

  16. Quality assurance - universities • Universities Act (1997) • Universities responsible for QA • Review by department • Delegated external review functions to IUQB • System reviewed by HEA • QA procedures arranged in accordance with A Framework for Quality in Irish Universities (IUQB) • Each university has it own Quality Assurance policy

  17. Quality assurance – institutes of technology & other colleges • Qualifications Act (1999) • HETAC for HE in institutes of technology and independent colleges • Programme accreditation and review • Delegation of authority to institutes of technology to award and accredit programmes • Provider QA procedures agreed by HETAC • Provider QA effectiveness reviewed by HETAC • DIT responsible for QA – published procedures • DIT QA effectiveness reviewed by NQAI

  18. Professional body accreditation • “setting up and maintaining proper standards of professional and general education and training for admission to membership or to any category of membership of the Institution, with power to provide and prescribe instruction and courses of study and to conduct examinations for the purpose of maintaining such standards” • Engineers Ireland charter

  19. Effects of professional accreditation for learners • Recognition of learning • Membership of community of peers • Legal right to title • Legal right to practice • Market effect • Varies in breadth and importance

  20. Effects of professional accreditation for providers • Quality assurance • Standard setting • Peer recognition (domestic & international) • Marketing • Disciplinary advancement • Internal resource competition factor

  21. Diversity of professional accreditation • Direct provision and assessment • Direct assessment, provision neutral • Programme recognition plus assessment • Partial programme recognition • Full recognition of programme and assessment

  22. Possible tensions Resource Management Programme Professional accreditation Academic QA

  23. Common features of professional & academic accreditation - standards • Specification of standards • Learning outcomes (knowledge, skill and competence) • Input (curricular content) • Input (programme resources, staff levels and competence) • Input (student selection)

  24. Common features of professional & academic accreditation - process • Criteria • Peers • Independence • Periodic review

  25. Issues • Do professional and academic QA have distinct contributions to make or are they redundant? • How much does accreditation cost and is it worth it? • Can (should) professional bodies and academic authorities agree common standards? • Can (should) professional bodies and academic QA share accreditation processes?