This page provides information for providers about the arrangements for the award and assessment of the Access to HE Diploma in 2022-23. A summary of the key information for providers is included in our poster. You can also refer to our frequently asked questions.
If you require information on previous years’ arrangements, please contact us.
Information for providers
Each year since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, QAA has employed an Extraordinary Regulatory Framework which has shaped the award of the Access to HE Diploma. We are grateful to Access to HE providers for their positive engagement with the Framework over the last two years.
The experiences of the pandemic have demonstrated the continuing importance of ensuring that:
- every student studying an Access to HE Diploma has every opportunity to learn and be assessed and to achieve the award of the Diploma to facilitate progression into higher education
- all Access to HE Diploma students are dealt with consistently through a national approach that ensures parity of experience.
Arrangements for the award and assessment of the Diploma for 2022-23 have been designed with the following key principles in mind:
- to support students, providers and Access Validating Agencies (AVAs) in meeting the opportunities and challenges to learning and delivery presented post-pandemic
- to work in collaboration with AVAs, the Department for Education (DfE), Welsh Government and other regulatory bodies to build on the strategy for Access to HE post-pandemic, focusing on sustainability and protection of the Access to HE Diploma.
The arrangements for the award and assessment of the Diploma in 2022-23 will be as follows.
Students starting their course from 1 August 2022
An Extraordinary Regulatory Framework will not apply. It will no longer be permissible:
- for AVAs to approve adaptations to the method of delivery, units delivered or assessment tasks in response to the pandemic
- to apply the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework arrangements relating to the principles of quality assurance.
Access to HE Diplomas must follow the validated rules of combination and be delivered and assessed in accordance with the method and schedule for which a provider has been approved. Providers should work with their AVA to ensure that activities undertaken for the development, quality assurance and award of Access to HE Diplomas continue in accordance with the requirements of the QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to Higher Education (the Recognition Scheme).
A continuing student is defined as a student who was registered on their course before 1 August 2022 and will continue with their studies into the following academic year (1 August 2022 - 31 July 2023). This will also include any students who took a break in learning and are returning to their course from 1 August 2022.
It will no longer permissible for AVAs to approve adaptations to the method of delivery, units delivered or assessment tasks in response to the pandemic on or after 1 August 2022.
However, arrangements relating to the principles of quality assurance under the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework will apply where:
- adaptations to the method of delivery, units delivered or assessment tasks on the Diploma in response to the pandemic have been approved and commenced prior to 1 August 2022, and/or
- students (and/or providers) have experienced extenuating circumstances due to the pandemic, prior to 1 August 2022.
Award through Extenuation
An Award through Extenuation was introduced into the Extraordinary Regulatory Framework from 2020-21 academic year, in response to the pandemic. These arrangements have now been in place for two academic years and have ensured that in those exceptional cases, where a student could not be assessed, due to the pandemic, the student had the opportunity to be awarded unit(s) that made up the Diploma, through an Award through Extenuation.
QAA recognises that outside the pandemic, there may be particular circumstances where students, or a provider, are significantly affected in the delivery or award of the Diploma through no fault of their own. Therefore, from 1 August 2022, an ‘Award through Extenuation’ procedure can continue to be applied. The arrangements for the Award through Extenuation will be an addendum to the Grading Scheme Handbook (Section E).
In those exceptional cases where a student cannot be assessed, due to no fault of their own, the student may still be awarded unit(s) that make up the Diploma, through an Award through Extenuation.
In addition to the Award through Extenuation, other support arrangements will be available to students from their course provider if they are finding it difficult to learn or be assessed during their course of study. The support arrangements will provide flexibility so that providers can work with their AVA to ensure a suitable awarding arrangement is put in place to fit local needs and meet the individual needs of students.
The arrangements for 2022-23 will be reviewed throughout the year. Regular liaison with stakeholders, including AVAs and providers, will allow QAA to collect feedback on the arrangements, allowing us to address challenges and/or queries in a timely manner, thus ensuring the arrangements continue to be effective and support students and providers.
If you have any questions about the arrangements for assessment and awarding of the Access to HE Diploma, please contact your AVA to discuss individual support needs.
You can also read our FAQs for Access to HE providers.
Please contact us at email@example.com if it would be helpful for QAA to run a bespoke session for your organisation.
We will continue to provide updates on the QAA website.
Frequently asked questions
To support Access to HE providers we have published a list of frequently asked questions on the QAA website.
Access to HE students
Dedicated support and information for Access to HE students is available on the Access to HE website.