Scots body mirrors its cousin

April 18, 1997

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is set to launch a revamped quality assessment method that brings it closer to the English system.

But it is steadfastly maintaining its distance from the single quality agency, insisting it cannot join until it is sure the new agency can meet all its assessment requirements.

Paul Clark, SHEFC's director of teaching and learning, has told institutions to submit self-assessments in European languages, chemical engineering and planning and landscape by the end of October under the revised system. This follows recommendations from a joint review group set up by SHEFC and the Committee of Scottish Higher Education Principals.

The existing 11-point quality framework will turn into a six-point quality profile, identical to that used by the Higher Education Funding Council for England and the new Quality Assurance Agency. SHEFC and HEFCE will also grade in the same way.

Departments will no longer have to grade teaching in self-assessments and will be given maximum word limits. They will also have to set out aims and objectives and will be encouraged to identify problems and propose solutions.

There will no longer be any distinction between academic assessors and industrial and lay assessors. "Subject specialist assessors" will be coordinated by a "reporting assessor" who will not make judgements on teaching quality. Institutions will nominate a subject adviser from each cognate area to offer detailed knowledge of the area to SHEFC's quality assessment branch.

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