Quality Assurance Manual

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1 Office of Quality, Standards and Partnerships Quality Assurance Manual Section 05 3 Periodic Academic Review Panel Member Guidance and Report Template This document sets out guidance for members of Periodic Academic Review Panels as part of the process for periodically reviewing academic provision. It relates to QAM 05 1 and QAM Approved: Academic Affairs Committee Date: 01 October 2014

2 1 Scope and Purpose The purpose of this document is to offer guidance to internal and external panel members who are taking part in the University s Periodic Academic Review (PAR) process. The full process is set out in the Quality Assurance Manual 05 1: Periodic Academic Review: Principles and Process. The overall PAR Panel will consist of: A Chair, not from the School in which the provision resides Internal member outside the School under review Internal member outside the College under review A current student, not from the School in which the provision resides External member(s) with subject expertise, and familiar with UK academic standards in relation to the programme Representation from PSRBs, where appropriate A Quality, Standards and Partnerships Officer 2 The Role of PAR Panel Members PAR is a developmental review of a programme, or set of cognate programmes, undertaken to evaluate and enhance the provision while providing a robust mechanism by which the University can assure itself of the quality of the programme(s). The role of panel members includes the following: a. Bringing expertise or experience to bear in reviewing the programme(s) b. To review critically the School s Self Evaluation Document and evidence base c. To attend the meeting(s) of the PAR Panel d. Collectively, to reach a judgement on the future of the programme(s) and contribute to a developmental analysis of the programme(s) These roles are expanded below. a. Bringing expertise or experience to bear in reviewing the programme(s) Panel members may be contributing from any one of a number of perspectives: as an external academic within the discipline with knowledge of practice in other institutions as a member of a PSRB setting standards within the discipline as an employer of graduates of the programme or provider of work-based learning opportunities as an academic from outside the discipline but with knowledge of the academic standards and practices applied elsewhere in the University as a specialist in quality assurance and enhancement practices within higher education as a current student representative undertaking a student engagement role 2

3 b. To review critically the Self Evaluation Document and evidence base The process of review begins with the School writing a Self Evaluation Document (SED). The aim of the SED is to provide the PAR Panel with a reflective and self evaluative analysis of the programmes under review and must not be a purely descriptive account. The SED is the basis for a dialogue between the Programme Team and the PAR Panel and ideally should be no more than fifteen pages in length. The SED is supported by a range of evidence that should bring together a variety of different perspectives on the provision under review: staff opinions, student opinions, External Examiners opinions, the opinion of employers linked with the provision, views expressed by PSRBs, and the opinion of graduates. Whilst each panel member will gain an oversight and general understanding of the provision under consideration, it is usual for each panel member to be allocated specific areas to explore in depth. This enables more focussed discussion relating to issues with a particular theme. For example, external panel members will normally be expected to comment on issues of currency, relevance of the curriculum and comparability with other provision within the subject area across the HE sector. The final report produced by the PAR Panel will reflect the overall findings with each panel member taking the lead on one or more specific sections within it. Panel members would be expected to report on initial findings prior to the event therefore enabling focussed discussion at the event itself. c. Meeting of the PAR Panel The PAR Panel normally meet once, having already reviewed the SED and the evidence base. Normally, as a minimum, the event will include the following elements: A private meeting of the PAR Panel to discuss findings from examination of the SED and evidence base A meeting of the PAR Panel with the Programme Team to explore a range of issues. The Programme Team should invite their Academic Subject Librarian, and colleagues from collaborative Partner institutions (if applicable), to attend. A meeting with a sample of students from across the provision under review (including students from any PGR degrees) A private meeting of the PAR Panel to determine outcomes and recommendations Initial feedback of outcomes and recommendations to the Programme Team The agenda for the PAR Panel s meeting with the Programme Team will normally focus on those areas of particular interest to panel members arising from their consideration of the SED and evidence base. This will be both in relation to areas of concern and also identification of good practice. The exact agenda will vary according to a number of factors but would typically comprise the following elements: Initial meeting of PAR Panel to discuss findings from SED and associated evidence Examination of physical evidence e.g. module/quality boxes (or equivalent), students work, tour of any relevant facilities 3

4 Discussion with Programme Team Meeting with Students Further discussion with Programme Team to triangulate findings Panel meeting to decide on recommendations Feedback to Programme Team The Panel may meet with the Programme Team more than once if members feel this is necessary, in discussion with the Head of School. This may be necessary where the provision under consideration is large. The review will consider the following key points, which are not intended as an exhaustive list but are intended only to help prompt your reflections, as a panel member contributing to a collective peer based view: Aims, Objectives and Learning Outcomes Are the aims, objectives and intended learning outcomes of the programmes, as stated in the programme specifications, clear and appropriate, and fully communicated to students, staff and External Examiners? Are the intended learning outcomes appropriate to the overall aims? Have the intended learning outcomes been informed by published QAA Subject Benchmark Statements and by the Higher Education Qualifications Framework (FHEQ)? Are the teaching, learning and assessment strategies clear? Do the External Examiners verify that the aims and learning outcomes are attained? Curriculum Are the programmes coherent, and of appropriate breadth and scope? Is there evidence that content and design are informed by recent developments in teaching and learning, including Student as Producer, by up-to date scholarship in the discipline, by relevant professional or occupational requirements, and by student feedback? Does the curriculum provide all students with the opportunity to achieve, and to demonstrate achievement of, the intended learning outcomes in terms of knowledge and understanding, intellectual and practical skills, and transferable skills? Assessment Does the assessment design and process enable students to demonstrate achievement of the intended learning outcomes? Is there a variety of assessment methods appropriate to the content and learning outcomes? Does assessment promote effective student learning? What is the evidence of student achievement (External Examiners reports, PSRB reports, degree classifications, progression data etc.)? Do External Examiners reports verify that the standards achieved by students meet the minimum expectations for awards, as measured against any relevant QAA Subject Benchmark Statements and the various levels of the FHEQ? Are assessment criteria effectively communicated to students? Are the appropriate standards being met where a programme is also professionally accredited? Is student progression appropriate to the stated aims and consistent with the attainment of intended learning outcomes? What evidence is there that graduates from the programme(s) are well prepared for employment? Learning Opportunities 4

5 How is the quality of teaching and learning maintained and enhanced (through, for example, staff development programmes, peer review and observation, mentoring of new staff and integration of visiting staff)? How well do staff draw upon their research or professional activity to inform their teaching? Can it be shown that the feedback to students is adequate and appropriate? Is there a suitable variety of teaching methods and student learning opportunities? To what extent is Student as Producer informing teaching and learning? Where relevant, is effective use made of placements/exchanges? Are arrangements to support placements appropriate? Are there effective arrangements for admission and induction, which are generally understood by staff and applicants? Is there appropriate academic support for students, including written guidance, which is consistent with the student profile and the overall aims of the degree programmes? How effective is the communication of information to students? Is the collective expertise of the academic staff suitable for effective delivery of the curricula and for the achievement of the intended learning outcomes? Are there suitable resources in terms of teaching accommodation, equipment, library stocks and IT facilities, and are these deployed in an effective manner? Is the liaison between the academic staff, students, and support services effective? Quality and Standards How effective are the School s procedures for monitoring and evaluating the programme, for identifying risks and maintaining the security of standards? Does the School make appropriate use of management information (statistical data, External Examiners reports, student evaluations, student representation, National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey and Postgraduate Research Experience Survey)? How is student evaluation collected and used? How effective are the arrangements for reacting to the views of External Examiners and of employers/psrbs? What are the potential risks to the quality of programme provision over the next five year period (e.g. trends in demand, competitor programmes, changes in professional expectations, funding priorities)? If the programme is subject to accreditation by a PSRB, then additional criteria and questions may be incorporated into the PAR process, provided that the core areas specified by the University are covered, and the additional criteria are made clear to the PAR Panel in advance. Management Information and Statistics The SED should include management and statistical information to support the programme(s) included in the review. An explanation of how this information informs planning should also be provided. This information should be from the previous three full academic years where appropriate. Key statistical information should reflect the Key information Set (KIS) where appropriate, and should include Student numbers Progression statistics Student completion data National Student Survey, Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey and Postgraduate Research Experience Survey results Has the Programme Team provided analysis and interpretation of the information? Is there evidence of statistics being used to inform planning? Potential Risks to Programmes 5

6 How effective are the School s procedures for monitoring and evaluating the potential risks to programme provision? d. Collectively, to reach a judgement on the future of the programme(s) and contribute to a developmental analysis of the programme(s) In the course of the review, the PAR Panel collectively will: Reach a view on the overall quality and standards of the provision. Determine a list of recommendations that is wishes to make to the Programme Team. Undertake a developmental analysis of the provision. PAR is an opportunity to step back from the routine delivery of the programme(s), and use peer review, students, employers, PSRBs to examine the existing quality of provision, and identify opportunities for ongoing improvement. Identify aspects of good practice and innovation that may be used to enhance learning and teaching across the University. These help demonstrate the quality and standards of the programme and its quality management to a range of internal and external audiences. Identify areas for development. The Panel may meet with the Programme Team more than once if members feel this is necessary, in discussion with the Head of School. This may be necessary where the provision under consideration is large. The PAR process is an academic one. It is not within the power of the PAR Panel to make direct recommendations that have financial consequences. For example, it would not be appropriate for a PAR Panel to recommend that a set amount of money be invested in IT infrastructure or for a new member of staff. However, it would be appropriate for the PAR Panel to identify an opportunity for development or a threat to quality, and invite the School/College/University to consider an appropriate response. 3 Support for Staff and Student Panel Members The PAR process is supported by guidance, training and advice provided by the OQSP. The recruitment and training for student representatives will be organised and coordinated by the Student Engagement Team, with expertise provided by the OQSP on process, roles and responsibilities, and the priorities and focus of the event. The OQSP will provide one to one support and/or briefing sessions for academic panel members where required, depending on levels of experience. This will focus on understanding the criticality required of the PAR process, the focus of activities and the outcomes required from the event itself. OQSP will outline the purpose of the supporting evidence base and typical lines of enquiry that will enable the PAR process to benefit the programme team. 4 The Review Report 6

7 The PAR Panel s findings are recorded in the Review Report. This provides the University with assurances as to the quality and standards of its own provision and will report good practice for internal dissemination. With these purposes and audiences in mind, the attached report template has been produced. The PAR Report will be an evaluative review of the curriculum and pedagogy of the programme(s), and will focus on making recommendations. The process is one of evaluation and all conclusions must be supported by evidence. The report will contain the following: List of the programmes being reviewed Membership of the PAR Panel Executive summary Objectives of the review Conduct of the review List of the evidence base, including paper evidence Overview of the programmes Conclusions on: o Curriculum and Assessment (including Student as Producer principles) o Academic Standards o Quality of Learning Opportunities o Management Information and Statistics o Risks and Opportunities identified Good practice - highlighting aspects of innovation and good practice for dissemination Recommendations In reaching its conclusions the PAR Panel should be particularly aware of any relevant QAA Subject Benchmark Statements, the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and any PSRB standards that apply. The report should also summarise the evidence on which the PAR Panel has based its judgements. The Quality, Standards and Partnerships Officer will coordinate and produce the first draft report from all Panel members contributions. The Officer will ask Panel members to submit comments/issues (in particular any recommendations) for incorporation into the final report based on exploration of issues raised during the event. This first draft version of the report will then be distributed to PAR Panel members for comment, and amended in light of any further additions, before approval by the Chair and circulation to the Programme Team for correction of any factual errors. 5 Activities following the Review Report The Head of School will provide an action plan in response to the recommendations detailed within the review report. This action plan requires College Academic Affairs Committee approval. Within 3 months, the College approved action plan, along with the review report, will be presented to the University Academic Affairs Committee which confirms approval of the response. AAC notes institutional level recommendations, and will form a view as to the action to be taken, if any. AAC will specifically note any good practice that can be disseminated more widely across Colleges. 7

8 College Academic Affairs Committee and College Boards of Study are then subsequently responsible for taking action plans forward. The key findings of the report and the action plan are made institutionally available. 8

9 Periodic Academic Review Report Template School/Subject Area List of Programme(s) reviewed (table copied from the SED) Programme Mode(s) of Study Approved collaborative Partner, if applicable Notes (newly validated, running out etc.) Period of Review Date of Panel Meeting(s) Review Panel Chair Quality, Standards & Partnerships Officer Internal Panel Member Internal Panel Member Student Panel Member External Panel Member 9

10 PSRB Representative, if applicable Programme Team 1 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY An overview of the key findings of the Review 2 OBJECTIVES OF THE REVIEW All Schools/subjects are required to undergo Periodic Academic Review (PAR) every 5/6 years. The PAR is conducted by an independent Panel and covers a cognate portfolio of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, including Short Courses and research provision. A self-evaluative commentary forms the focus of discussions between the School and the PAR Panel, whose report and recommendations are intended to assure the University of the quality of the programmes and the standards being achieved by its students. The PAR Panel will also report on the effectiveness of the School s arrangements for managing quality and standards in relation to learning and teaching. 3 CONDUCT OF REVIEW A summary of the activity undertaken throughout the review process 4 EVIDENCE BASE A summary list of all documentation provided to the panel (refer to QAM 05 2) 5 OVERVIEW OF REVIEW PROGRAMMES This will draw on the overview provided by the School in their SED, and also contain a brief statement of the Panel s view of the programmes in relation to content and approach, and distinctive features 6 CONCLUSIONS ON CURRICULUM AND ASSESSMENT (Referring to the inclusion of Student as Producer Principles) 10

11 7 CONCLUSIONS ON ACADEMIC STANDARDS 8 CONCLUSIONS ON QUALITY OF LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 9 CONCLUSIONS ON MANAGEMENT INFORMATION AND STATISTICS 10 CONCLUSIONS ON RISK AND OPPORTUNITIES 11 GOOD PRACTICE 12 RECOMMENDATIONS Recommendations for actions to address any shortcomings, and for further enhancement of the provision I confirm that due process has been followed and that this report is an accurate record of the Periodic Academic Review process. PAR Panel Chair s Signature: Date: Print Name: 11

12 Periodic Academic Review Action Plan This action plan requires College Academic Affairs Committee approval, before submission to University Academic Affairs Committee. College Academic Affairs Committee and College Boards of Study are ultimately responsible for taking action plans forward. Periodic Academic Review Panel s Recommendations 1. Response of School/Programme Team in terms of Recommendations/Actions Individual(s) responsible for Actions Timescale for Actions Progress to Date I confirm that the Periodic Academic Review Action Plan has been approved by the College Academic Affairs Committee (CAAC). 12

13 Chair of CAAC Signature: Date: Print Name: 13

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