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General programme validation manual

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General programme validation manual

    General Programme Validation Manual 2010

    HIGHER EDUCATION AND TRAINING

    AWARDS COUNCIL, IRELAND

    Comhairle na nDámhachtainí Ardoideachais agus Oiliúna, Éire

    General Programme Validation Manual

    2010

    Short title General Programme Validation Manual

    Reference code: Version: Date of issue:

    05/07/2010 E.2.4 1.1

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    General Programme Validation Manual 2010

    General Programme Validation Manual

    Contents

    GENERAL PROGRAMME VALIDATION MANUAL 1

    1 INTRODUCTION 3

    2 INFORMATION FOR APPLICANTS 3

    3 THE GENERAL PROGRAMME VALIDATION PROCESS 4 4 INTERPRETATIONS 8

    5 REFERENCES 11

    APPENDIX 1 PROPOSED PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 13 1 INTRODUCTION 13

    2 MAIN CONTENT OF APPROVED PROGRAMME SCHEDULES 13 3 SPECIAL REGULATIONS 19

    4 REFERENCES 19

    5 PROPOSED PROGRAMME SCHEDULE TEMPLATE FOR A STAGE 21 APPENDIX 2 DIFFERENTIAL VALIDATION 23

    1 INTRODUCTION 23

    2 QUALITY ASSURANCE 23

    3 DIFFERENCES FROM THE ORIGINAL PROGRAMME 24 4 SELF-ASSESSMENT 24

    APPENDIX 3 GENERAL PROGRAMME VALIDATION TEMPLATE 25 1 INTRODUCTION 25

    2 PROVIDER PROFILE 25

    3 CONTEXTUAL INFORMATION 26

    4 OUTLINE OF THE PROPOSED PROGRAMME 27 5 PROGRAMME PROPOSAL 28

    6 MODULE DESCRIPTORS 31

    7 PROGRAMME TEACHING STAFF 33

    8 RELEVANT FACILITIES AND SERVICES 33

    ANNEX 1.CURRICULA VITAE OF LECTURERS/TUTORS 34 ANNEX 2. SAMPLE EXAMINATIONS & C. A. 34 ANNEX 3 STATUTORY DECLARATION 34

    ANNEX 4 LIST OF CURRENTLY PROVIDED PROGRAMMES 34 ANNEX 5 TEMPLATE FOR ASSESSOR’S PRELIMINARY REPORT 34

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General Programme Validation Manual 2010

    1 Introduction

    This document applies to the validation of all programmes based on prescribed courses of study. It assumes familiarity with HETAC’s Core Validation Policy and Criteria. It supplements

    this with information about how HETAC conducts validation. It also describes how an

    application for validation should be presented.

    Validation by HETAC is an external quality assurance procedure which is consistent with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG).

    It is equivalent to the ex ante programme accreditation process used in some other

    European countries.

    2 Information for applicants

    The validation process begins when a provider makes an application to HETAC. If the 1application is successful the process ends when HETAC issues an Order of Council an

    Approved Programme Schedule and a Certificate of Programme Validation (see Appendix 1).

    Providers should consult the following documents when preparing for validation:

    ; Core Validation Policy and Criteria is the basis for all of HETAC’s validation

    processes. It sets down the core processes and general criteria which are used

    by all validation processes. All applications for validation will need to be

    prepared with reference to it.

    ; Assessment and Standards is about the assessment of learners. It is intended to

    be suitable for all types of programmes and providers. It is produced for the

    attention of and use by those involved in the development of programmes

    (among others). It explains certain key concepts that are critical to validation.

    Among these are minimum intended programme learning outcomes and

    programme and module assessment strategies.

    ; Awards Standards is a series of publications which describe the standard to be

    acquired by learners in particular fields of learning (i) before a higher education

    and training award may be made by HETAC or by a recognised institution to

    which authority to make awards has been delegated by HETAC, or (ii) who

    request from HETAC recognition of an award made by a body other than HETAC

    or a recognised institution to which authority to make awards has been

    delegated. This implies that they describe the learning required to pass. Some

    awards standards are broad: e.g. engineering, business, and others are narrower:

    e.g. computing, art and design, architecture, nursing, social care, etc)

    ; Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher

    Education Area (ENQA) sets out minimum standards for providers’ internal

    quality assurance procedures as well as the external quality assurance

    procedures of agencies such as HETAC. Part 1 of this document is addressed to

    providers.

     1 Certain terms have a precise technical meaning in the context of this document and may have important nuances which differ from conventional meanings. These terms are set in blue italics typeface where they first appear and, except where a specific cross-reference is provided, are defined in Section 4, Interpretations.

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General Programme Validation Manual 2010

    ; Policy for Collaborative Programmes, Transnational Programmes and Joint

    Awards provides special validation criteria and quality assurance guidelines for

    programmes with a collaborative and/or transnational dimension.

    ; Policies, actions and procedures for Access, Transfer and Progression for

    Learners (NQAI) sets out specific policies, actions and procedures on: credit,

    transfer and progression routes, entry arrangements, and information provision.

    Under each of these headings, the respective roles of key stakeholders the

    NQAI, HETAC and FETAC and providers are specified. A summary of

    procedures that apply to providers in relation to each of the policy areas is

    provided in Addendum 3 of that document.

    ; Principles and Operational Guidelines for the Recognition of Prior Learning in

    Further and Higher Education and Training (NQAI 2005) sets out the principles

    and operational guidelines for the recognition of prior learning in further and

    higher education and training established by the National Qualifications

    Authority of Ireland following consultation with stakeholders.

    ; Principles and operational guidelines for the implementation of a national

    approach to credit in Irish higher education and training (NQAI 2006) sets out

    the national approach to credit in higher education and training. It is intended

    to complement the National Framework of Qualifications. The Framework is an

    outcomes-based awards system, and that the national approach to credit is

    compatible with the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation system (ECTS).

    ; ECTS User’s Guide (European Communities 2009)

    ; Accumulation of Credit through Certification of Subjects Policy (This scheme is

    subject to more recent policies e.g. Assessment and Standards and policy on

    awards.)

    ; Research Degree Programme Policy and Criteria provides detailed information

    for prospective providers of research degree programmes including professional

    doctorate programmes.

    ; Fee Schedule for HETAC Services sets out the fees for validation and other

    HETAC services.

    See the Section 5 for information about where to obtain these documents. They are all available online.

    3 The General Programme Validation Process

    The process is governed by HETAC’s Core Validation Policy and Criteria. This section provides

    additional detail.

    The new programme development process is the responsibility of the provider. The provider should not assume that deficiencies in this development process can be compensated for by validation. Development must thought through and be completed prior to applying for validation. However, the validation process will often lead to the enhancement of the programme.

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General Programme Validation Manual 2010

    3.1 Preparing, describing and presenting the new programme

    The information about the programme should be prepared with the validation process in mind. It should provide sufficient information to enable the expert panel to judge whether

    or not the programme will enable the target learners to achieve the minimum intended

    programme learning outcomes.

    An application for validation must supply a detailed description of the programme, its context, its educational objectives and its target learners and their characteristics. The General Programme Validation Template (Appendix 3) should be used for this purpose. The

    description should be accompanied by a Proposed Programme Schedule (Appendix 1). The

    programme assessment strategy and module assessment strategies (see HETAC’s

    Assessment and Standards document) must also be provided.

    Applicants should refer to HETAC’s Policy and Draft Guidelines on Minor, Special Purpose and

    Supplemental Awards 2008. In particular, any minor awards associated with the programme should be identified clearly. See the Appendix 1Section 2.1.3 for the meanings of these

    classes of award-types.

    The proposed programme’s target learners should be identified. This is necessary so that the

    expert panel can satisfy itself that the proposed programme can meet their learning needs. The prerequisite learning (knowledge, skill and competence) should be specified along with any other assumptions concerning the target learners (e.g. adult learners, part-time learners, international students, learners who are preparing for entry into a particular profession). The minimum intended programme learning outcomes must be clear, unambiguous and consistent with the relevant Awards Standards. The expert panel must satisfy itself that these are consistent with the relevant Awards Standards.

    The provider must also provide a critical self-assessment of the proposed programme

    against the applicable validation criteria. The basic criteria for validation are set out in section 3 of HETAC’s Core Validation Policy and Criteria. The policy and criteria are

    supplemented by more specialised policy and criteria in the following documents:

    ; Policy for Collaborative Programmes, Transnational Programmes and Joint

    Awards

    ; Research Degree Programme Validation Policy and Criteria

    The Qualifications (Education and Training) Act requires that where a programme of higher education and training is organised or procured, in whole or in part, by a provider (“the first mentioned provider”) and is provided, in whole or in part, by another provider (“the second mentioned provider”), the first mentioned provider shall consult with the second mentioned

    provider before making an application for validation. HETAC will regard such an arrangement as collaborative provision and the programme concerned as a collaborative programme in the sense of HETAC’s Policy for Collaborative Programmes, Transnational Programmes and Joint Awards. This policy calls for the establishment of a consortium agreement and

    additional quality assurance procedures for the collaborative provision.

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General Programme Validation Manual 2010