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Working closely with sector bodies, we engage in a range of activities to support our members in securing and maintaining academic standards.


A major benefit of being a QAA Member is the opportunity to shape and inform our policies and sector reference points, such as Subject Benchmark Statements and Characteristics Statements, through networks, and advisory and reading groups.


Degree outcomes statements


Our activity on degree outcome statements links to the work of the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment (UKSCQA) to protect the value of UK degrees and to maintain transparent, consistent and fair academic standards. In October 2019, the UKSCQA published a set of common degree classification descriptions that set out the agreed general criteria that students across the UK should meet in order to achieve the different classes of qualification at bachelor’s honours degree level. A second edition was published in February 2021.

Guidance for Degree-Awarding Bodies on Producing Degree Outcomes Statements

Publication date: 05 Feb 2021

Checklist for Considering and Validating Degree Outcomes Statements

Publication date: 05 Feb 2021


On our Membership Resources Site, we have published presentations from related webinars and responses to questions raised by members.


We continue to work with our members and Universities UK to support implementation of Degree Outcomes Statements and this includes exploring different approaches to degree algorithms. Members can access video case studies and presentations related to degree algorithms where Universities UK and providers shared practices and insights.

Degree standards and classifications


Our Quality Compass: International perspectives on degree classification profiles - is it an issue around the world? provides a deep dive into how patterns of student achievement are regarded worldwide, considering the variations, learning points and opportunities for students.

To complement this, we published International Perspectives on Degree Classification and Grade Inflation - a literature review for members which explores the drivers and causes of an increase in awarding grades at the top end of student achievement, in a range of international contexts.

We are engaged in a sector conversation about the role of degree classifications, now that so many students graduate with upper awards. To underpin this, Degree Classification: A Literature Review reflects on previous work to review the UK degree classification system, identifying six practices that have emerged from that previous work and considering how this might shape current considerations.  

External Examining

Working alongside Universities UK (UUK), GuildHE and an expert advisory group, QAA undertook a review of external examining practice in UK higher education. As a result, we developed a set of principles for effective external examining. These have been agreed by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assurance (UKSCQA) and are appended to the Statement of Intent on Degree Classifications.

We have also published advice which expands on the principles to give practical help to external examiners and the degree-awarding bodies that appoint them. The advice is accompanied by a set of reflective questions which examiners and institutions can use as a tool to evaluate their roles and approaches to external examining.

Quality Processes

To maintain academic standards, enhance the quality of their provision and create a sound student experience, higher education providers are committed to ensuring effective quality assurance practices are followed across their institution. Quality assurance processes are monitored to determine whether the policies, procedures and operational practice are effectively implemented and maintained. These processes also provide opportunities to review practices and identify potential areas for improvement.

Members can access resources on monitoring and evaluation, which offer advice on different approaches and provide an opportunity to consider how student learning opportunities may be enhanced.