Part A of the Quality Code explains how academic standards are set and maintained for higher education qualifications in the UK.
The UK Quality Code for Higher Education is used to assure the standards and quality of UK higher education. It is used by UK higher education providers to ensure they are achieving the outcomes expected of them. It presents a series of reference points to help providers offer their students a high-quality experience.
The Quality Code has recently undergone significant redevelopment. The Expectations and Practices of a new Quality Code were published in March 2018, and supporting Advice and Guidance in November 2018.
Transitional arrangements for moving to the new Code as a reference point for quality assessment reviews vary across the nations. Providers undergoing a review in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will reference the existing version of the Code (below) until August 2019. Providers in England which are currently designated for student support by the Secretary of State and not yet registered by the OfS and are undergoing annual monitoring and other review-related activities will also reference the existing version of the Code until 31 July 2019.
All providers in England registered by the OfS will use the new Code.
The Quality Code consists of three Parts that address academic standards, academic quality and information: Parts A, B and C.
Academic standards are benchmarks for the award of academic credit and qualifications. Providers with degree awarding powers (known as degree awarding bodies) set and maintain these standards. Part A covers what is expected of providers when they do this. It also identifies the relevant UK and European frameworks, statements and reference points. It explains how they relate to each other and how they provide a context for checking the quality of the standards.
The Qualification Frameworks set out the different levels of higher education qualifications and the requirements for each of these. There is one framework for England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and a separate one for Scotland. Both are combined in one publication.
The Credit Framework provides guidance on how to use credit when designing programmes that lead to higher education qualifications.
Characteristics Statements describe the distinctive features of qualifications at particular levels within the Qualifications Frameworks. They describe the qualifications in terms of their purpose, general characteristics and generic outcomes, but do not include subject level detail.
Quality Assuring Higher Education in Apprenticeships is also available in Welsh.
Part B is about the quality of learning opportunities that are in place. Specifically, how well these opportunities support students and allow them to get the most out of their higher education experience. Chapters in Part B follow the programme/student life cycle.
Public confidence in higher education relies on public understanding of the achievement represented by higher education qualifications. Part C sets out the Expectation that higher education providers make available valid, reliable, useful and accessible information about their provision.
Subject Benchmark Statements define what can be expected of graduates in particular subject areas. They describe what graduates might know, do and understand at the end of their studies.
A number of additional resources are available that provide supporting information and guidance for this Part of the Quality Code.