Key Decisions in a Qualification’s Life-cycle
1. Confirming a need for a new qualification
This is discussed in the Qualification Development Manual (QDM) section 1.1 and this manual also includes ensuring commitment and viability as discussed in section 1.2.
On receipt of a request for a new qualification, or in response to a perceived need, the MD will undertake preliminary investigation as per the QDM section 1.1, including consultation with Teaching Centres. He/she will then write a report for the Board of Directors to consider whether to proceed. The board will make an interim decision and, if positive, the MD will initiate further investigation, including a report by the FO on the qualification’s likely financial impact, and make a detailed submission to the Board of Directors who will make a firm decision as to whether to proceed.
2. Deciding the objectives, qualification type, level & times, competencies and learning outcomes which must be set as per QDH sections 1.2-1.4, 2.1 and appropriate assessment tasks devised (section 2.2).
These steps are organised by the Qualification Lead Developer (QLD) who will have been appointed for the task, but will be a co-operative effort between the MD, QLD and CE. Some of these will be set by the requirements of external agencies (e.g. qualification type & level will be VRQ at level 4 unless a further application is made to Ofqual to extend the ranges, and many of the competencies are set by reference to external agencies’ requirements.) The MD will be in overall charge and the decisions will be signed off by the MD after consultation with stakeholders.
3. Approving a qualification specification
The qualification specification is written by the QLD and submitted to Ofqual and any other regulators by the MD after approval by the Board of Directors. If approval is not immediately given, the submission will be revised by the QLD and MD jointly – details in the QDM section 4. The qualification is then made available to Teaching Centres (TC). Dissemination will be via a newsletter to the TCs and the details and specification will be published on MAEL’s website. A meeting of stakeholders may be called by the MD. A summary may also be included in other publicity materials with a link to the full details.
4. Checking results from Teaching Centres.
Having devised and taught a course, and assessed the learners in accordance with the Teaching Centre Operational Manual (TCOM) section 3.4, the TCs undertake an internal verification of the results and submit them to MAEL on the completion of each cohort’s results – details in TCOM section 4.2.1.
This is the responsibility of the TC’s course director, who may seek approval from the TC management according to their own internal procedures.
5. Approval of grades
The CE prepares a report and arranges for an external verification – as per QOM section 3.2. Once that is complete and the external verifier has agreed the results, certificates of achievement are issued – as per QOM section 3.1. The CE’s responsibility ends when the final results are communicated to the MD. The Board of Directors will be notified of the results, but have no powers to alter the grades or marks. The MD will oversee the issuance of certificates.
Should there be any appeal or complaint, the MD will organise the investigation and other processes laid out in the Staff Handbook section 4.15 and on completion refer the matter to the directors for ratification of his/her recommendation.
6. Approval of annual report
The qualification is reviewed annually, in the light of QA processes, the report from the EV, feedback from TCs and other stakeholders and any problems or grievances which have arisen, in line with QOM section 4.3. The review is overseen by the MD and reported to the Board of Directors. Procedural changes may be instigated but if it is decided that the specification needs to be altered a new submission to regulators will be needed. TCs will be given 12 months’ notice of any change before any course is due to begin.
7. Withdrawal of a qualification
When a qualification has reached the end of its useful life, its withdrawal will be managed as per the QOM section 6. The decision will depend upon ongoing demand and the continuing relevance of the qualification. If either of these are called into question then the MD will raise the matter with the Board of Directors, who will take a decision as to whether to withdraw or revise the qualification.
This will be managed by the MD and ratified by the Board of Directors before being confirmed. The MD will ensure that the interest of all existing adult learners are safeguarded as per the section quoted above.
page updated 12/4/2021