'Checklist' of student skills: QAA area guidelines

May 5, 2000

Benchmarks cover 22 subject areas, ranging from six pages for accounting to 32 pages for law. They make explicit the "techniques and skills" expected of graduates and "the intellectual demand and challenge appropriate to study of the discipline to the level in question".

All but two include a "checklist" of skills expected of either a typical graduate, or a graduate at the threshold required for a pass. The QAA's subject reviewers will "use relevant benchmark statements as a means of determining whether the intended learning outcomes of individual programmes are appropriate". They will also expect departments to "demonstrate how subject benchmark statements have been used to inform decisions about the intended outcomes of programmes".

Examples of knowledge expected include:

Accounting: demonstration of "skills in recording and summarising transactions and other economic events"

Philosophy: "ability to use and understand properly specialised philosophical terminology"

Chemistry: "ability to conduct risk assessments concerning the use of chemical substances and laboratory procedures"

Sociology: at the lowest level, "threshold-level" graduates must be able to "recognise sociologically informed questions", among other "discipline specific skills". Their more typical counterparts should be able to "formulate such questions".

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