The following links may prove useful for individuals who are engaging with various aspects of the implementation of the National Framework of Qualifications. They are a combination of national policy relating to a given topic and examples of the vast range of information resources available nationally and internationally on a subject area. The categories of information below are also directly relevant to the working groups currently operating as part of the University Framework Implementation Network.
Professor Bairbre Redmond (UCD) presented to the network on the area of assessment in January 2008. Her presentation is available here: BR Presentation 21.01.08
The University of Limerick's Guide to Learning Outcomes is a useful introduction to how assessment can be designed to ensure that learners are able to demonstrate the attainment of the learning outcomes associated with their learning.
The All Ireland Society for Higher Education (AISHE) published a series of Case Studies of Good Practice in Assessment of Student Learning in Higher Education in 2007, edited by Geraldine O'Neill, Sylvia Huntly-Moore and Phil Race.
The Bologna Process
The Bologna process commenced in 1999. There are numerous points of contact between its European-wide objectives and those of the National Framework of Qualifications. The key web / document links in terms of the Bologna Process and the interconnection between Bologna and the National Framework of Qualifications are as follows:
The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland, subsequent to broad consultation, published Principles and Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of a National Approach to Credit in Irish Higher Education and Training, in 2004.
Information on the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) is available on the Europa website, including what it is; how it was developed; and its key features.
Institutional Centres for Teaching and Learning
Each of the 7 universities has a dedicated centre for teaching and learning aimed at supporting and enhancing teaching and learning processes:
DCU Learning Innovation Unit
NUIG Centre for Excellence in Learning and Teaching (CELT)
NUIM Quality Promotion Office: Teaching and Learning
TCD Centre for Academic Practice and Student Learning (CAPSL)
UCC Academic Support: Teaching and Learning
UCD Centre for Teaching and Learning
UL Centre for Teaching and Learning
The initial decisions around the structure and content of the National Framework of Qualifications and the indicators for each level in terms of learning outcomes can be accessed below:
Nationally, the Higher Education and Training Awards Council have developed standards, derived from the Framework's level indicators for a number of fields of learning: HETAC Standards
Accreditation by some professional bodies is based around learning outcomes. The most prominent national example of this is in the field of engineering. Further information regarding criteria can be located on the Engineers Ireland website: Engineers Ireland
Other institutional items related to learning outcomes generally include:
European and International resources on this topic include the following:
- The most evident European resource is the Tuning Educational Structures in Europe project. A range of subject areas have been reviewed as part of this process, from business to history and nursing to music.
- The QAA have established subject benchmark statements that set out expectations about standards of degrees in a range of subject areas, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level: http://www.qaa.ac.uk/academicinfrastructure/benchmark/default.asp
- In addition, there are a number of European professional projects, including, for example:
Chemistry: Eurochem http://www.cpe.fr/ectn-assoc/
Psychology: Europsy http://www.europsy.eu.com/
Engineering: Eurace http://www.feani.org/
National Framework of Qualifications
Full information on all aspects of the National Framework of Qualifications can be located at http://www.nfq.ie/ and http://www.nqai.ie/.
The Irish Higher Education Quality Network (IHEQN) was established in 2003. It consists of representatives from all of the key national stakeholders with a role or interest in quality assurance. Contained within its website are web-links to numerous national and international sites of key relevance to quality assurance.
The Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) was established by the seven Irish universities to increase the level of inter-university co-operation in developing their quality assurance procedures and processes. It was delegated authority by the governing authorities of each university to organise the periodic review of the effectiveness of the quality assurance procedures in place in the universities.
The Higher Education Authority (HEA) has a statutory function to assist universities in achieving their quality assurance objectives; to review and report on the quality assurance procedures developed by the universities and to be consulted by the universities in their review of the effectiveness of quality assurance procedures.
The Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC) is the quality assurance agency for providers delivering its awards.
Titling / Inclusion of Awards
Dr. Jim Murray (National Qualifications Authority of Ireland) presented to the network on this topic during its January meeting. A copy of his presentation is available here: J Murray Presentation 21.01.08
In January 2006, the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland published Towards the completion of Framework implementation in the universities - a discussion paper. This document was later adopted by the universities. It includes particularly useful information regarding titling conventions and their link to credit levels in non-major awards. An abbreviated version of the document is also available: Framework implementation in the universities - summary