It is essential that students continue to get what they need and expect from their experience of higher education, no matter which course they choose or what their background is.
We believe the time is right to make some changes to the minimum requirements universities and colleges must meet for the quality and standards of their courses, and how we monitor those. These proposed changes consider the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and our experience of regulating quality and standards so far.
We consulted on these changes from 17 November 2020 to 25 January 2021. We will publish a second consultation setting out our proposals in more detail in spring.
Some of the improvements we are setting out include:
- new, clearer, definitions of ‘quality’ and ‘standards’ which, if accepted, we would use to regulate universities and colleges
- including new sector-recognised standards for the classification of first degrees, to protect the standards for first degrees
- setting more challenging overall baselines for universities and colleges regarding student outcomes: that is the number of students who finish courses successfully and progress to further study or employment in the future
- updating the way we monitor quality and standards in universities and colleges
- updating the way we investigate and intervene when concerns about quality and standards in universities and colleges have been raised.
What we wanted to know
We welcomed students and student representatives views on all of the proposals in this consultation. But we were particularly interested to hear views about our proposed definitions of ‘quality’ and ‘standards.’
The definitions have been set out against different themes. These themes cover the student academic lifecycle and are access and admissions, course content, structure and delivery, resources and academic support, successful outcomes and secure standards.
The themes are intended to reflect student needs and expectations for a high quality education and a qualification that is reliable and which holds its value for the long term.
The definitions are set out in Annex A of the consultation document. We particularly welcomed thoughts on question 1a below.
Read the consultation on quality and standards
Question 1a: Do you agree or disagree with the proposed definitions of ‘quality’ and ‘standards’ set out in Table 1 of Annex A and that this should be used to express minimum baseline requirements for quality and standards in revised B conditions?