Policy 001: Quality Assurance and Enhancement
- Purpose and Scope
- ACM is committed to the provision of Higher and Further Education programmes that meet relevant qualifications frameworks and standards as set out through the awarding institution’s regulations, and the associated sector quality assurance frameworks.
- This policy sets out ACM’s approach to maintaining and enhancing academic quality and standards.
- This policy should be read in conjunction with associated institutional regulations of Middlesex University (for validated HE provision), Falmouth (franchised HE provision), and University of the Arts and East Surrey College (for FE provision)
- Policy Statement
2.1 ACM assures academic quality and standards through the deliberate implementation of strategic monitoring and review, that is supported by robust operational and Academic Governance structures that effectively support learning, teaching and the student experience.
2.2 ACM is committed to Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement of its Further Education provision aligned with regulations of the awarding institution and the Further Education and Skills inspection handbook published by Ofsted. This includes:
- embedded awareness of equality and diversity in learning activities
- learning and teaching in English and Mathematics
- learning with integrated use of information and learning technology
- integrated observation and evaluation of learning and teaching
- use of learner feedback to inform learning and teaching
- providing opportunities for teaching staff to discuss and share views about their practice.
2.3 ACM is committed to the setting and maintaining of Academic Standards, Assuring and Enhancing Academic Quality, and Information about Higher Education Provision for its Higher Education in line with the UK Quality Code and the regulations set out by the awarding institution. ACM makes use of appropriate qualifications, credit frameworks and subject benchmarks to ensure programmes meet threshold standards.
2.4 ACM programmes are subject to validation and/or accreditation approval and inspections (or site visits) by the awarding institution that ensures that threshold qualification standards, subject benchmarks and academic quality and standards for each award are met, and aligned with the awarding institution’s regulations.
2.5 ACM is subject to regular monitoring and review by its collaborative partners, and works in collaboration with those partners to ensure that programmes delivered meet the standards and expectations of the awarding institution.
2.6 ACM operates its own academic quality assurance and enhancement policy to ensure effective cyclical monitoring and review of its programmes, with an emphasis on continuous improvement and quality enhancement. ACM works collaboratively with students as partners in learning and teaching to effectively monitor, review and enhance learning opportunities and the student experience. An evidence based approach underpins quality assurance drawing on various types of data and information to inform decision making.
2.7 Quality Assurance Cycle (P-R-I-M-E)
Effective Use of Data
2.8 ACM makes use of various data and information sources gathered to inform cyclical monitoring and review. This includes:
- Student profile data derived from statutory returns
- Use of data in relation to:
- student engagement and academic performance
- achievement, progression, retention data
- Award outcomes
- Use of contextual data (demographics / analysis)
- Student surveys, including Programme Evaluation Questionnaires (PEQ) and Module Evaluation Questionnaires (MEQ)
- National Student Survey (NSS) data
- Graduate Survey (DLHE) data
Student Representative System
2.9 ACM operates a Student Representative System that captures and focuses the wider student voice through a group of elected student representatives. The Student Representatives are elected through an open nomination process facilitated by the ACM Quality, Registry and Data Services (QRDS) department. Student Representatives report to the Board of Studies and have membership of all ACM Academic Boards and Committees.
See ACM Institutional Governance and Student Representative System Guidelines for further details.
Student Feedback Framework
2.10 ACM provides opportunities for students to provide feedback through formal and informal channels throughout their studies. Informal feedback may be given anonymously through surveys, suggestion boxes on campus, or the elected Student Representative. Informal feedback is also gathered through student meetings and interviews conducted throughout their studies.
2.11 The student voice is central to the monitoring review and enhancement process. ACM gathers formal student feedback through:
- Academic Board and Committee structures
- Industry Advisory Group
- Board of Studies
- Student Forum
- Student surveys
- Focus Groups
2.12 ACM gathers feedback from the wider student body through online survey collections that are normally administered towards the end of each study period. The data gathered through the surveys is distributed to the Boards and Committees for consideration, and the survey report responses and associated actions are communicated to the relevant student groups and made available through the student portal. All minutes and reports from the Boards and Committees are also made available to the student body through the student portal.
External Points of Reference
2.13 ACM makes deliberate use of external reference points as an integrated component of its academic quality assurance framework. This includes data and performance benchmarks from the UK HE and FE sectors, benchmarks from collaborative partners and industry.
2.14 ACM makes scrupulous use of External Examiners in line with the awarding institution’s regulations in the monitoring of academic standards in assessment practices and standards across all Higher Education programmes. ACM utilizes feedback from external moderation processes to identify areas of good practice, and to provide direct responses and actions with regards to any recommendations received.
2.15 ACM liaises with External Moderators and moderation processes in the monitoring of assessment practices and standards across all approved Further Education programmes. ACM utilizes feedback from external moderation processes to identify areas of good practice, and to follow up in regards to any recommendations received.
Programme Review and Approval
2.16 ACM follows the policies and procedures of the awarding institution(s) in the formal review and approval of new programmes. All arrangements for validated/accredited programmes will be set out in the Partnership Agreement and associated Memorandum of Cooperation.
2.17 A register of current approved programmes and the related agreements is maintained by the Quality, Registry, and Data Services (QRDS) department.
2.18 Where a programme is subject to a fixed term of validation (normally 4 or 6 years), ACM will normally undertake an interim review of the programme at the midpoint of the review cycle. The amount of incremental change that may be made over the period of validation/accreditation will be subject to the awarding body’s regulations and the Partnership Agreement and associated Memorandum of Cooperation.
2.19 ACM will work with the awarding institution to ensure that fair and reasonable programme Teach Out arrangements are implemented for programmes that are no longer offered either due to the period of validation/accreditation coming to an end, the programme being superseded by a newer (re)validated programme, or for the programme no longer being offered for operational or strategic reasons. Under these circumstances ACM will work with all students that may be impacted by programme Teach Out to ensure fair and transparent arrangements are agreed.
2.20 ACM undertakes regular review of its programmes to ensure:
- that academic quality and standards are maintained
- effective implementation of approved programmes (including the curriculum, assessment strategies, programme learning outcomes, module/unit components)
- that the programmes are current, continue to be aligned with relevant bodies of knowledge and academic rigour, and achieve the intended learning outcomes
Identifying and Sharing Areas of Good Practice
2.21 ACM provides opportunities for staff and students to identify and share areas of good practice through reporting to the standing Boards and Committees. Areas of good practice will be reviewed annually and distilled into the Annual Monitoring Reports.
Reporting and Action Planning
2.22 ACM undertakes cyclical review of its educational provision through integrated programme and module/unit reviews. Reviews are informed by student achievement data, survey data, and feedback from formal and informal channels.
2.23 Programme Review is normally undertaken annually, aligned with the Annual Monitoring and Self Assessment reporting cycles that are completed in conjunction with the provisions of our awarding institutions .
2.24 ACM Boards and Committees are integrated into the annual monitoring processes, providing a mechanism for staff and student consultation and input on areas of good practice and potential improvement.
2.25 Programme Reviews are normally overseen by the Head of Education in liaison with the relevant Programme Managers.
2.26 ACM undertakes cyclical review of all modules/units of study to ensure that all components of a programme are subject to regular monitoring and review. These reviews will be informed by direct student feedback, PEQ and MEQ survey feedback, academic progression and achievement data, and other student engagement information gleaned in consultation with students, tutors, Module Leaders and Programme Managers.
2.27 Module reviews will normally be be overseen by the Programme Managers in liaison with the relevant Module Leaders and tutors.
2.28 ACM uses action planning as an integrated mechanism for articulating and tracking quality improvement and enhancement activity. At the Institutional level ACM maintains a:
- QAA Review Action Plan (for Higher Education provision)
- Annual Monitoring Report (for Higher Education provision)
- Quality Improvement Plan (QIP, for Further Education provision)
- Self Assessment Report (SAR, for Further Education provision)
2.29 Actions plans are regularly reviewed through the standing boards and committees to ensure effective monitoring of progress and periodic review of actions.
2.30 Boards and committees use Action Plans to articulate and monitor quality assurance and enhancement activity across the organisation.
- Responsible Parties
3.31 The policy lead is responsible for the cyclical monitoring and review of the policy in liaison with the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Manager. The Quality Assurance and Enhancement Policy lead is:
- Head of Quality and Student Experience
3.2 Decisions and appropriate actions in support of the implementation of the Policy will be authorised by the following designated staff:
- Quality Assurance and Enhancement Manager
- Head of Student Services
- Group Head of Education
- Programme Managers
- Senior Management Team members
- Reference Points
- Admissions Policy
- Learning Teaching and Assessment Policy
- Middlesex University (MDX) Regulations
- Middlesex University (MDX) Learning and Quality Enhancement Handbook (LQEH), Section 1: An Overview of quality assurance and enhancement activity at Middlesex-University.
- The UK Quality Code for Higher Education
- UAL Awarding Body qualifications resources (Link: http://www.arts.ac.uk/about-ual/awarding-body/resources/ )
- Further Education and Skills Inspection Handbook (Ofsted)
- Date of Approval and Next Review
Approved on: 17 Aug 2017
Approved by: Academic Board
Next Review: 01 May 2018
Download policy – POL_001_Quality Assurance and Enhancement Policy_180521