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Quality Assurance and Professional Accreditation national developments


conference exploring quality assurance and professional accreditation ... of authority to institutes of technology to award and accredit programmes ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Quality Assurance and Professional Accreditation national developments

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

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

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

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

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

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)

Purpose of framework
  • a coherent national policy approach to
  • 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

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

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)

The National Framework of Qualifications
award-types and awarding bodies
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

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)

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

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

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

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
  • Each university has it own Quality Assurance

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

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

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

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

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

Possible tensions
Resource Management
Professional accreditation
Academic QA
Common features of professional academic
accreditation - standards
  • Specification of standards
  • Learning outcomes (knowledge, skill and
  • Input (curricular content)
  • Input (programme resources, staff levels and
  • Input (student selection)

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

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