What are we quality assuring?
Whilst different quality assurance frameworks and standards vary in the terminology used, there is a broad alignment on what is being quality assured at a number of levels and in various contexts:
The organisation – does the organisation have the appropriate governance and monitoring systems, procedures, policies and processes to ensure that the learning and assessment processes work effectively? This will include financial management; clear lines of responsibility and accountability; committee structures; oversight of processes against policies; appeals and disciplinary processes; ensuring inclusivity, widening participation and equality and diversity issues are monitored and addressed.
The programme – is the programme aligned with external, professional and internal expectations and standards?
The curriculum – is this designed to facilitate learning for all learners? Does it include all the elements that would be expected? Is it designed to ensure progression of learners towards independent or supervised postgraduate practice?
Selection and admissions – are the methods and processes used for selecting learners appropriate and carried out in relation to good practice in equality and diversity?
Learning and teaching delivery and self directed learning – are the learning and teaching methods appropriate to ensure achievement of the stated learning outcomes? Do they reflect contemporary best practice? Do learners have sufficient time for self study?
Assessment – are the assessments valid and reliable? Are the methods appropriate to adequately measure learners’ knowledge, patient safety, competence and that they have appropriate professional behaviours at each stage?
Facilities – this includes all physical facilities and other resources – people (teachers, support staff, technical staff); funding; libraries and access to resources; online/IT systems; rooms, equipment, social and study spaces; clinical environment – access to patients and sufficient spread of conditions to achieve learning outcomes; good clinical care; teachers and other professionals equipped to teach and provide support
Support and guidance – are policies and procedures for providing academic and personal support for learners in place whilst they are in all locations (university and clinical placements)?