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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education


​​​​​QAA terms explained

This glossary explains terms that are frequently used in our work and publications.

Click on the appropriate letter(s) to find​​​ your required explanation.​

This glossary is also available in Welsh. Mae'r eirfa hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg​​.

  • taught degree awarding powers

  • technology enhanced or enabled learning (or e-learning)

    ​Learning that is delivered or supported through the use of technology.
  • term

    Any of the parts of an academic year that is divided into three or more for purposes of teaching and assessment (in contrast to division into semesters).

  • theme

    ​​In the context of a review, a topic selected for particular attention for quality purposes. See also enhancement theme.
  • threshold academic standard

    ​​The minimum acceptable level of achievement that a student has to demonstrate to be eligible for an academic aw​ard. (See General Introduction to the Quality Code.) Threshold academic standards are set out in the national qualifications frameworks and su​bject benchmark statements​.​

  • Tier 4

    The part of the UK government's points-based immigration system that is concerned with individuals who want to come to the UK to undertake a course of study at an educational establishment. Higher education institutions permittted to recruit such migrants are known as highly trusted sponsors. To achieve this status they must successfully undergo a QAA Review for Educational Oversight.

  • Tier 4 Sponsor

    ​An organisation that the UK Government trusts to admit migrant students from overseas, according to Tier 4 of UK Visas and Immigration's points-based immigration system. Higher education providers wishing to obtain this status must undergo review by QAA.

  • transcript

    A document, but not a formal certificate, that certifies the results achieved in a final examination (usually broken down at least to module/unit level).

  • transferable skills

    ​​Skills learned within a particular context that can be applied usefully in another context.​
  • transnational education

    (TNE) Higher education learning opportunities that are provided outside the UK but lead to an award of a UK degree-awarding body.

  • transparent

    ​​Presented in a way that is open, straightforward, and enlightening.​

  • trustworthy information

    ​​Information for which the provider has good grounds for claiming that it is dependable and truthful and that confidence can be placed in it.​