Give credit where it s due my credit s as good as yours
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Give credit where it’s due. My credit's as good as yours!. QCF, FHEQ and other credit compared (Dr Steve Hill, RDI Ltd APL adviser and independent HE consultant). How do different credit frameworks affect me?. Course/programme/ award design and validation Module/unit design

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Give credit where it s due my credit s as good as yours

Give credit where it’s due. My credit's as good as yours!

QCF, FHEQ and other credit compared (Dr Steve Hill, RDI Ltd APL adviser and independent HE consultant)

How do different credit frameworks affect me
How do different credit frameworks affect me?

  • Course/programme/ award design and validation

  • Module/unit design

  • Assessment design

  • Assessment decisions (marking/moderation) for both modules and awards

  • Admissions/recruitment

  • Recognition of prior learning (RPL) including certificated and experiential learning (APCL/APEL)

Qcf and fheq
QCF and FHEQ framework)

  • FHEQ is primarily qualification driven, with a ‘top-down’ approach where programme outcomes are derived from subject benchmark statements and professional body requirements.

  • QCF is a credit framework, replacing the earlier NQF, which was qualification driven and didn’t use credit

  • QCF is unit (module) based, with programmes designed around existing or new units, so is a ‘bottom-up’ approach

  • Rules of Combination (RoC) define how units are to be used in qualifications.

Awarding credit in fheq and qcf 1
Awarding credit in FHEQ and framework)QCF 1

  • FHEQ: Module learning outcomes must be met, but minor module failure can be compensated or condoned.

  • Overall module pass typically for an aggregated mark in assessment

  • The 2012 UK Credit Forum Survey found 28% awarded credit where condonement used, and 52% where compensation used

  • 57% required all learning outcomes to be met for module credit.

  • Extensive use of RPL-69% of HND and 81% of FD allow full use of relevant prior credit.

Awarding credit in fheq and qcf 2
Awarding credit in FHEQ and QCF 2 framework)

  • QCF: unit learning outcomes must be met by demonstrating all related assessment criteria

  • Assessment must show that all assessment criteria have been met.

  • Compensation/condonement not permitted

  • Exams not usually seen as fit to ensure assessment criteria are met

  • QCF qualifications and units are pass/fail, although awarding organisations can include supplementary grading (e.g. merit and distinction grades in HNDs).

Credit and qualifications
Credit and qualifications framework)

  • QCF rules require that a minimum of 50% of credit must be at the level of the programme

  • This can distort programme design, e.g. 3 year programmes at level 6 must have 50% of units at level 6?

  • The no compensation rule means all units must be passed

  • Awards are typically pass only

  • FHEQ programmes typically require less, e.g. honours degrees typically require only 120 credits (from 360) at level 6

  • Compensation is typically allowed

  • Much more use of grades of pass: degree classifications etc.

Regulation of he in england
Regulation of HE in England framework)

  • Ofqual is the regulator for the QCF

  • QAA regulates degree awarding bodies

  • The QAA Quality Code has ‘expectations’ that all HE providers are required to meet (not just universities)

  • QAA reviews HE in private colleges as part of ‘Educational oversight’, so such colleges offering QCF qualifications are expected to meet the Quality Code expectations

  • The Quality Code chapter B6, from August 2014, requires that ‘HE providers operate equitable, valid and reliable processes of assessment, including for the recognition of prior learning, which enable every student to demonstrate the extent to which they have achieved the intended learning outcomes for the credit or qualification being sought’.

  • Does this pose problems for RPL, compensation and condonement?

Qcf reports 2010 ofqual evaluation 2011
QCF framework)reports: 2010 Ofqual evaluation (2011)

  • Ofqual no longer accredits qualifications prior to use by learners, but delegates this to recognised awarding organisations (AOs)

  • A large % of units did not conform to regulatory requirements, but this did not necessarily affect delivery or assessment

  • Little use in practice of RPL

  • Centres unclear about their responsibilities to avoid plagiarism and collusion

  • Titling requirements (only award, certificate or diploma permitted, and all qualifications of 37 credits or greater are ‘diplomas’) differ from pre-QCF titling conventions

  • The requirement that all learning outcomes and their associated assessment criteria must be met makes assessment burdensome, examinations problematic, grading difficult and makes higher level qualifications difficult to fit into the QCF

  • Source:

Ofqual review of level 6 and 7 tier 4 qcf provision 2013
Ofqual review of level 6 and 7 framework)‘tier 4’ QCF provision 2013

  • Two-thirds of AOs operating in the sector have qualifications and assessment that do not meet expected standards for their level

  • All AOs included in the sample provided examples of students’ work that did not meet the standards.

  • Standards of provision fall below what is required

  • Actions taken by Ofqual against AOs include withdrawal of recognition, voluntary withdrawal of level 7 qualifications by an AO and action plans to address Ofqual’s concerns

  • Source:

Other credit and qualification systems
Other credit and qualification systems framework)

  • NQF: often not credit based, but qualifications made-up of units e.g. HNDs to 2012.

    • Not always easy to determine credit equivalence where no credit values used e.g. BCS HE qualifications, the ACCA qualification.

  • Overseas frameworks: similar frameworks can be found in for example South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Mauritius

  • US-style systems: 4 year degrees, typically requiring 120 credits. So if 30 US credits equate to one year, then multiply cr value x 4 to get approx. credit value.

  • NARIC useful for information about the level and details of overseas qualifications

Further information
Further Information framework)

  • Qualifications can cross boundaries leaflet 2011:

  • UK Credit Forum Survey 2012:

  • Review of credit accumulation and transfer policy and practice in UK higher education HEA 2013:

  • Regulatory arrangements for the QCF (2008):

  • The UK Qualifications and credit framework: a critique. Stan Lester 2011