Access Validating Agency > See AVA
achievement transcript > See certification
centre > See provider
Open College Network > See OCN
academic standards The standards set and maintained by AVAs for their courses and expected for their awards. See also learning outcome, level descriptors and grade descriptors.

Access to HE course Course leading to the award of the Access to HE Diploma.

Access to HE Diploma Access to Higher Education Diploma: a nationally recognised qualification that is credit-based and graded in accordance with the terms of the Access to HE Diploma and credit specifications  and the standard grading scheme. Each Access to HE Diploma has its own approved set of units of assessment, governed by rules of combination.

Access Recognition and Licensing Committee Committee appointed by the QAA Board to have responsibility for the Recognition Scheme, which monitors AVAs via their annual self-evaluation reports and through the process of relicensing review.

Access Validating Agency See AVA.

achievement transcript See certification.

annual self-evaluation reports Reports produced every year by an AVA using their own information to assess their performance.

audit trail A group or sequence of documents collectively demonstrating that a particular quality assurance process has taken place.

AVA Abbreviation of Access Validating Agency, an organisation licensed by QAA to undertake the development, validation, monitoring and review of individual Access to HE Diploma courses and, accordingly, to award the Diploma (or, where appropriate, credit towards the Diploma).

award A qualification, or the allocation of credit to a student.

awarding organisation An organisation recognised by Ofqual to award Ofqual-regulated qualifications.

centre See provider.

certification Provision of a formal certificate to students testifying that they have been awarded the Access to HE Diploma, together with details of what they have achieved (achievement transcript). See also precepts and licensing criteria.

course recognition The formal approval of a specified Access to HE Diploma course which may be delivered by a particular provider/centre. For course recognition to be completed, the AVA confirms the course in QAA's Access courses database as a QAA-recognised Access to HE course. See also precepts and licensing criteria.

credit(s) A means of quantifying and recognising learning expressed as numbers of credits at a specific level.

criterion-referenced assessment An assessment of a student's work against the achievement of learning outcomes.

Diploma approval The point when, having considered the recommendations of a validation panel, an AVA formally confirms that a Diploma has met all requirements (including requirements made in conditions) and that it may be offered by the provider(s)/centre(s) that have been approved to deliver it.

enhancement In the context of an AVA: taking deliberate steps to improve practice.

external moderation A process, conducted by suitably qualified people not employed by the provider in question, that is intended to assure an assessment outcome is fair and reliable; that correct procedures have been followed; and that assessment criteria have been applied consistently.

feature of good practice A positive aspect of the way an AVA meets the licensing criteria, which may be seen as exemplary to others.

framework A published formal structure.

further education (FE) Formal learning that follows compulsory education and may take the form of A levels, NVQs or an Access to HE course. Some form of further education is normally required to qualify for entry to higher education.

governance The framework of formal structures and practices through which an organisation is governed, including its board of directors and committees, as specified in its relevant charter, constitution, articles or other formal documentation. See also precepts and licensing criteria.

grade descriptors Statements about what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate in order to achieve a particular grade for a unit of study.

grading Systematically ascertaining whether students have met the learning outcomes of a unit, and, if so, whether they have done so at level 3 (pass), or at a sufficient standard for a merit or distinction, following the process and regulations of the Access to HE grading scheme. See also Grading scheme handbook.

learning outcome What a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate after completing a process of learning, for example a particular unit of study.

level A way of classifying how advanced an educational course is. Further and higher education qualifications are at eight different levels. The Access to HE Diploma is a further education qualification at level 3.

level descriptors Statements about what a learner is expected to know, understand and/or be able to demonstrate at a particular educational level.

licensing criteria Formally stated requirements underpinning the five precepts that AVAs must meet in order to be licensed or relicensed by QAA (forming part of the Recognition Scheme).

management The staffing, operations, and systems and procedures in place to implement an AVA's responsibilities. See also precepts and licensing criteria.

moderation A process intended to check that an assessment outcome is fair and reliable and that assessment criteria have been applied consistently. This may be done internally (within the organisation) or externally (see external moderation).

monitoring Checking processes on a periodic basis and recording the results in a way that can be accessed and interpreted to inform improvements. See also precepts and licensing criteria.

National Open College Network (NOCN) A UK awarding organisation offering credit-based qualifications accredited by the relevant regulatory authorities in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and licensing the Open College Networks (OCNs).

Ofqual The regulator of general secondary and further education qualifications in England and of vocational qualifications at all levels in England and Northern Ireland. See also awarding organisation.

OCN Abbreviation for Open College Network, one of a number of regional organisations licensed by the National Open College Network.

Open College Network See OCN.

precepts A set of five requirements that an organisation must meet, under the QAA Recognition Scheme, in order to hold an AVA licence. The five precepts are: governance; strategic planning; management; course recognition; and moderation, monitoring and certification. Each is supported by clearly defined licensing criteria.

programme (of study) An approved course of study that provides a coherent learning experience and normally leads to a qualification.

provider or centre An organisation that delivers recognised courses leading to the Access to HE Diploma.

provider/centre approval The successful outcome of the process through which an AVA approves a provider or centre to deliver one or more Access to HE Diplomas.

QAA The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. QAA is responsible for the
national recognition and regulation of Access to HE courses. QAA is also responsible
for reviewing and reporting on standards and quality in UK higher education.

recommended action Something that QAA advises an AVA to do in an annual monitoring report or relicensing review report.

Recognition Scheme The QAA Recognition Scheme for Access to Higher Education in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which was established by QAA and details the structures and means by which QAA meets its responsibilities for the Access to HE Diploma.

relicensing review A process carried out by QAA to renew the right of an AVA to recognise courses leading to the Access to HE Diploma and award the qualification to students.

required action Something that an AVA must do in order to be licensed or relicensed by QAA to validate Access to HE Diplomas.

revalidation Renewal by an AVA of its existing or previous validation of a recognised Access to HE Diploma course.

risk The measure used by QAA in its judgements to indicate the extent to which an AVA meets the licensing criteria (classified as low, medium, high or very high).

rules of combination Rules defining the required achievement for individual Access to HE awards; these normally identify a particular set of approved named units that a student must complete to accumulate the required credits for the Diploma.

self-evaluation A document prepared by an AVA, and supplied to QAA, to demonstrate how the AVA judges that it is meeting the licensing criteria.

standardisation Specific measures taken by an AVA to ensure consistency in the standards and grading of student achievement in relation to the Access to HE Diploma.

strategic planning The systematic preparation whereby an organisation (in this context, an AVA), sets out to fulfil its role and the requirements placed upon it. See also precepts and licensing criteria.

transcript A formal written statement of a student's achievement in an assessment and what grades or marks have been awarded.

unit A self-contained, structured course of study, with a coherent and explicit set of learning outcomes and assessment criteria.

validation The process of detailed scrutiny applied to a submission for a new Access to HE Diploma. It includes consideration of the individual units and the rules of combination that specify the required learning for the award of the Diploma. Provided the result is satisfactory, the process leads to a recommendation for formal approval of the Diploma by the AVA.

validation panel A team of experts appointed by an AVA to scrutinise proposals for new or existing Access to HE Diplomas.

widening participation Increasing the involvement in higher education of people from a wider range of backgrounds and circumstances.

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