Glossary

A

AAC The Accreditation Council is a state authority in Austria which assesses the quality of private universities through accreditation. Furthermore, the Austrian Accreditation Council supports the quality development of these institutions.
Access Access is gaining entry to and participation in education and training institutions or programmes. In certain circumstances before admittance is granted certain criteria may need to be fulfilled. Some examples may include a requirement for a particular qualification (award), education level, skills or work experience etc. from the awarding body.
Accreditation Process of accrediting an institution of education or training, a programme of study, or a service, showing it has been approved by the relevant legislative and professional authorities by having met predetermined standards
ACEL The Advisory Council for English Language Schools and as of January 2010, ACELS is now part of the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland
ANQAHE The Arab Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education ANQAHE has been established in June, 2007 as a nonprofit nongovernmental organization. The purpose to establish the Arab network for quality Assurance in higher education is to create a mechanism between the Arab countries to: Exchange information about quality assurance; Construct new quality assurance agencies or organizations; Develop standards to establish new quality assurance agencies or support the already present one; Disseminate good practice in quality assurance; Strengthen liaison between quality assurance bodies in the different countries
AQA Austrian Agency for Quality Assurance. Die Österreichische Qualitätssicherungsagentur (AQA) ist eine unabhängige Einrichtung für Qualitätssicherung, Evaluierung und Zertifizierung im gesamten Hochschulbereich.
Assessment The sum of methods and processes used to evaluate the attainments (knowledge, know-how, skills and competences) of an individual, and typically leading to certification.
Awarding Bodies (Ireland) An awarding body is a national body that has the power to give a qualification in order to recognise learning. There are six Irish national awarding bodies that have their awards included in the Framework. However many other awarding bodies such as professional bodies or UK awarding bodies have had their awards included in the NFQ

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B

Bologna A city in Italy! The Bologna Process of the European Union aims to create a European Higher Education Area by 2010, in which students can choose from a wide and transparent range of high quality courses and benefit from smooth recognition procedures. The Bologna Declaration of June 1999 has put in motion a series of reforms needed to make European Higher Education more compatible and comparable, more competitive and more attractive for Europeans and for students and scholars from other continents. Reform was needed then and reform is still needed today if Europe is to match the performance of the best performing systems in the world, notably the United States and Asia.

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C

CISG A group drawing on the experience and shared knowledge of staff in the areas of Business and Corporate Information Systems UCISA-CISG comprises one person representing Corporate Information Systems interests for each UK Higher Education Institution that is a member of the Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA).
Cognitive Competence Cognitive competence involves the use of theory and concepts, as well as informal tacit knowledge gained experientially
Competence "Competence” means the proven ability to use knowledge, skills and personal, social and/or methodological abilities, in work or study situations and in professional and personal development. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, competence is described in terms of responsibility and autonomy. Competence includes: i) cognitive competence involving the use of theory and concepts, as well as informal tacit knowledge gained experientially; ii) functional competence (skills or know-how), those things that a person should be able to do when they are functioning in a given area of work, learning or social activity; iii) personal competence involving knowing how to conduct oneself in a specific situation; and iv) ethical competence involving the possession of certain personal and professional values.
Concurrent Experiential Learning Concurrent Experiential Learning is learning planned and structured into a course as a way of achieving certain of the learning outcomes for that course. A common form of Concurrent Experiential Learning would consist of a student being placed in employment in industry for a fixed number of weeks.
Copenhagen Process A great place to start in Denmark. The Copenhagen process of the European Union was developed within the perspective of lifelong learning, and aims to encourage individuals to make use of the wide range of vocational learning opportunities available, for example at school, in higher education, at the workplace, or through private courses. The lifelong learning tools should enable users to link and build on learning acquired at various times, and in both formal and non-formal contexts.
Course Catalogue The exact format of the Catalogue is to be decided by the institution. It may be considered more appropriate to separate the general information for students from the academic information. In any case, all information should be detailed, user-friendly and up-todate. The Catalogue should be published on the institution’s website so that all interested parties can easily access it. It should be published sufficiently in advance for students to make their choices.
Credit Allocation Credits are allocated to entire qualifications or study programmes as well as to their educational components (such as modules, course components, dissertation work, work placements and laboratory work).
Credit System A system of credits makes it possible to break down a qualification or the objectives of a programme of vocational education and training into units. Each unit is defined in terms of knowledge, competences and skills. It may be characterised by its size and relative importance, expressed in general by credit points (or credits) or other factors. Each unit can be validated and awarded separately.
Credit transfer in ECTS Credits awarded in one programme may be transferred into another programme, offered by the same or another institution. This transfer can only take place if the degree-awarding institution recognises the credits and the associated learning outcomes. Partner institutions should agree in advance on the recognition of periods of study abroad
Credits Credit points are allocated to qualifications and to the units that constitute them. By agreement, they represent, in numerical form the volume of learning outcomes, the relative importance of each of the units that make up a qualification, in relation to the expected results, i.e. the knowledge, skills and competences that must be acquired and assessed, regardless of the learning pathway.

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D

Diploma Supplement The Diploma Supplement (DS) is a document attached to a higher education diploma aiming at improving international ‘transparency’ and at facilitating the academic and professional recognition of qualifications (diplomas, degrees, certificates etc.). It is designed to provide a description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies that were successfully completed by the individual named on the original qualification to which this supplement is appended. It should be free from any value-judgements, equivalence statements or suggestions about recognition. It is a flexible non-prescriptive tool which is designed to save time, money and workload. It is capable of adaptation to local needs.
Dublin Descriptors The Dublin Descriptors offer generic statements of typical expectations of achievements and abilities associated with qualifications that represent the end of each of a Bologna cycle. They are not meant to be prescriptive; they do not represent threshold or minimum requirements and they are not exhaustive; similar or equivalent characteristics may be added or substituted. The descriptors seek to identify the nature of the whole qualification.

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E

ECA The Europen Consortium for Accreditation - ECA has been founded in 2003 with the primary aim of mutual recognition of accreditation decisions. The two other aims of ECA are: mutual learning and disseminating best practices in accreditation; providing transparent information on quality and supporting internationalisation of institutions and students.
ECTS European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System. ECTS makes teaching and learning more transparent and facilitates the recognition of studies (formal, non-formal and informal). The system is used across Europe for credit transfer (student mobility) and credit accumulation (learning paths towards a degree). It also informs curriculum design and quality assurance.
ENQA ENQA (the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) disseminates information, experiences and good practices in the field of quality assurance (QA) in higher education to European QA agencies, public authorities and higher education institutions.
EQF European Qualification Framework. The EQF is designed as a common European reference system to link different countries’ qualifications systems and frameworks together: effectively to function as a translation device making qualifications more readable across national boundaries. The aim of the framework is to benefit learners and workers wishing to move between countries as well as employers and educational institutions attempting to compare the level of qualifications from different national systems. The EQF is designed to be used by the bodies responsible for national qualification systems and frameworks relating their systems to the EQF, rather than mapping individual qualifications directly to it.
Erasmus Programme Erasmus is the EU's flagship education and training programme, enabling more than 180,000 students to study and work abroad each year, as well as supporting co-operation actions between higher education institutions across Europe. It caters not only for students, but also for professors and business staff who want to teach abroad and for university staff who want to be trained abroad.
Ethical Competence Ethical competence involves the possession of certain personal and professional values.
EUA The European University Association (EUA) represents and supports higher education institutions in 46 countries, providing them with a unique forum to cooperate and keep abreast of the latest trends in higher education and research policies. Members of the Association are European universities involved in teaching and research, national associations of rectors and other organisations active in higher education and research.
EUNIS EUNIS is the European University Information Systems Organization. EUNIS brings together those who are responsible for the management, development and the policy for Information Technology in Higher Education in Europe. The objective of EUNIS is to contribute to the development of high quality information systems.
Europass Europass is an initiative which aims to help you make your skills and qualifications clearly and easily understood in Europe - whether you are enrolling in an education or training programme, looking for a job, or getting experience abroad.
European Diploma Supplement See Diploma Supplement

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F

FETAC The Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) is the Irish national awarding body for further education and training. Its awards are included in the Framework from levels 1 to 6.
Fields of Study See ISCED
Formal Learning Learning that occurs in an organised and structured environment (in a school/training centre or on the job) and is explicitly designated as learning (in terms of objectives, time or resources). Formal learning is intentional from the learner’s point of view. It typically leads to certification.
Functional Competence Functional competence (skills or know-how)are those things that a person should be able to do when they are functioning in a given area of work, learning or social activity

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H

HEAR High Education Access Route is an Irish college and university admissions scheme which offers places on reduced points and extra college support to school leavers from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds. HEAR has been set up by a number of colleges and universities as evidence shows that socio-economic disadvantage can have a negative effect on how well a student does at school and whether they go on to college.
HESA The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) is the official agency for the collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative information about higher education in the United Kingdom. It was set up by agreement between the relevant government departments, the higher education funding councils and the universities and colleges in 1993, following the White Paper “Higher Education: a new framework”, which called for more coherence in HE statistics, and the 1992 Higher and Further Education Acts, which established an integrated higher education system throughout the United Kingdom.
HETAC HETAC (the Higher Education and Training Awards Council) was established in Ireland on 11 June 2001, under the Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 1999. It is the successor to the National Council for Educational Awards (NCEA) and is the qualifications awarding body for third-level education and training institutions outside the university sector.

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I

IHEQN The Irish Higher Education Quality Network (IHEQN) was established in 2003. It provides a forum for the principal national stakeholders in the quality assurance of higher education and training (including HETAC, the Qualifications Authority, the DIT and the IUQB) to discuss quality in a national context, to work towards the development of a common national position on key quality assurance issues and to inform the debate on those same issues at a European level.
Informal Learning Learning resulting from daily activities related to work, family or leisure. It is not organised or structured in terms of objectives, time or learning support. Informal learning is in most cases unintentional from the learner’s perspective. It typically does not lead to certification.
INQAAHE The International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) is a world-wide association of over 200 organisations active in the theory and practice of quality assurance in higher education. The great majority of its members are quality assurance agencies that operate in many different ways, although the Network also welcomes (as associate members) other organisations that have an interest in QA in HE.
IOTI Institutes of Technology Ireland. IOTI is the representative body for 13 of Ireland’s Institutes of Technology.
ISCED International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) is designed to serve as an instrument suitable for assembling, compiling and presenting comparable indicators and statistics of education both within individual countries and internationally. It presents standard concepts, definitions and classifications. ISCED covers all organized and sustained learning opportunities for children, youth and adults including those with special needs education, irrespective of the institution or entity providing them or the form in which they are delivered.
IUQB The Irish Universities Quality Board has been established to support and promote a culture of quality in Irish higher education and independently evaluate the effectiveness of quality processes in Irish universities.

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J

JISC JISC is the Joint Information Systems Committee, who champion the use of digital technology to ensure the UK remains world-class in research, teaching and learning. They offer leadership and support to UK educational organisations at a local, national and international level. JISC also provides resources, knowledge and expertise that colleges and universities would struggle to source individually. JISC keeps up to date with developments in information and digital technology to help the UK education community make the investment decisions that ensure they deliver the learner experience their students demand.

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K

KIS Key Information Sets. They are comparable sets of information about full or part time undergraduate courses and are designed to meet the information needs of prospective students.
Knowledge “Knowledge” means the outcome of the assimilation of information through learning. Knowledge is the body of facts, principles, theories and practices that is related to a field of work or study. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, knowledge is described as theoretical and/or factual.

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L

LDCS Learn Direct Classification System.
Learning Outcome Learning outcomes are used to express what learners are expected to achieve and how they are expected to demonstrate that achievement. Learning outcomes are statements of what is expected that the student will be able to do as a result of learning the activity. (Jenkins and Unwin, 2001) Learning outcomes are statements that specify what learners will know or be able to do as a result of a learning activity. Outcomes are usually expressed as knowledge, skills or attitudes.(American Association of Law Libraries4)
Leuven Communiqué A beautiful place in Belgium! In the Leuven Communiqué of 2009 the European Union Ministers identified these priorities for the coming decade: * social dimension: equitable access and completion, * lifelong learning; * employability; * student-centred learning and the teaching mission of higher education; * education, research and innovation; * international openness; * mobility; * data collection; * multidimensional transparency tools; * funding.

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M

Module A self-contained, formally structured learning experience. It should have a coherent and explicit set of learning outcomes, expressed in terms of competences to be obtained, and appropriate assessment criteria.

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N

NFQ Irish National Framework of Qualifications. The National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) has been in place since 2003. The NFQ is designed for the development, recognition and award of qualifications based on standards of knowledge, skill and competence acquired by learners. The Framework consists of 10 levels, from basic learning to Doctoral awards. Thus, it is designed to accommodate all types of education and training, wherever it takes place.
NFQ Levels • The Higher Certificate at level 6. • The Ordinary Bachelor Degree at level 7. • The Honours Bachelor Degree at level 8. • The Higher Diploma at level 8. • The Masters Degree at level 9. • The Post-Graduate Diploma at level 9. • The Doctoral Degree at level 10. • The Higher Doctorate at level 10.
NQAI The National Qualifications Authority of Ireland is an agency of the Department of Education and Science and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and was set up in February 2001. It has responsibility for developing and maintaining the National Framework of Qualifications and has three principal objects which are set out in the Qualifications (Education & Training) Act 1999 * the establishment and maintenance of a framework of qualifications for the development, recognition and award of qualifications based on standards of knowledge, skill or competence to be acquired by learners * the establishment and promotion of the maintenance and improvement of the standards of awards of the further and higher education and training sector, other than in the existing universities. * the promotion and facilitation of access, transfer and progression throughout the span of education and training provision.

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P

Prior Learning Prior learning is ‘learning that is acquired through formal, non-formal or informal routes’, for example it could be learning achieved from attending a formal education or training programme, learning achieved on the job or learning attained while a person is involved in voluntary activities in the community.
Progression Progression is the process by which learners may transfer from one programme of education and training to another where each programme is of a higher academic level than the preceding programme.
Provider A provider (of a programme of education and training) is defined as a person who, or body which, provides, organises or procures a programme of education and training.

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Q

QAA Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education for the United Kingdom. The primary responsibility for academic standards and quality in UK higher education rests with individual universities and colleges, each of which is independent and self-governing. QAA checks how well they meet their responsibilities, identifying good practice and making recommendations for improvement.
QCF The Qualifications and Credit Framework formed a major strand of the UK Vocational Qualifications Reform Programme, so its initial focus has been on vocational and related qualifications. It is intended that it will include all qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland other than higher education qualifications (which are covered by the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications) and the qualified status granted by professional bodies.1 The QCF also forms part of the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, which is managed by the Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS)
QQI Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) was established on 6 November 2012 under the Qualifications and Quality Assurance (Education and Training) Act 2012. The new Authority is being created by an amalgamation of four bodies that have both awarding and quality assurance responsibilities: the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC), the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC), the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI) and the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB). The new Authority will assume all the functions of the four legacy bodies while also having responsibility for new or newly-statutory responsibilities in particular areas.
QualifaX QualifaX is the Irish National Learners Database. It provides information on a wide range of courses across further and higher education and training. It includes a range of useful tools such as an events calendar, interest assessment and information on student grants. QualifaX became part of the National Qualifications Authority in January 2008
Qualification “Qualification” means a formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards

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R

RPL Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is defined as ‘a process by which prior learning is given a value’. RPL makes it possible for a person to build on learning already achieved and be formally rewarded for the learning. Prior learning is ‘learning that is acquired through formal, non-formal or informal routes’, for example it could be learning achieved from attending a formal education or training programme, learning achieved on the job or learning attained while a person is involved in voluntary activities in the community.

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S

SCQF The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
SCQF Level Descriptors These define the generic outcomes for the characteristics for each of the SCQF Levels.
SCQF Levels The SCQF Framework has 12 levels. The complexity of learning and level of demand increases from Level 1 through to Level 12.
SEC The State Examinations Commission (SEC) makes school awards in Ireland. Current awards include the Junior Certificate at Framework level 3 and the Leaving Certificate at Framework levels 4 and 5
Skills "Skills" means the ability to apply knowledge and use know-how to complete tasks and solve problems. In the context of the European Qualifications Framework, skills are described as cognitive (involving the use of logical, intuitive and creative thinking) or practical (involving manual dexterity and the use of methods, materials, tools and instruments.

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T

Transfer Transfer is the process by which learners may transfer from one programme of education and training to another programme having received recognition for knowledge, skill or competence acquired

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U

UCISA UCISA represents almost all the major UK universities and higher education colleges and has a growing membership among further education colleges, other educational institutions and commercial organisations interested in information systems and technology in UK education, providing a network of contacts and a powerful lobbying voice
Unit A unit is part of a qualification. It can be the smallest part of the qualification that can be evaluated, validated or certified. A unit can be specific to one particular qualification or common to several qualifications. The knowledge, skills and competences that make up the credit form the basis for the assessment and validation of people’s outcomes. Units are validated at the end of the assessment of outcomes, the results of which must comply with the requirements of the qualification.
Universities UK Universities UK is the representative organisation for the UK’s universities. Founded in 1918, the mission is to be the definitive voice for all universities in the UK, providing high quality leadership and support to our members to promote a successful and diverse higher education sector. With 134 members and offices in London, Cardiff and Edinburgh, they promote the strength and success of UK universities nationally and internationally.
University Framework Implementation Network The University Framework Implementation Network was jointly established by the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland and the Irish Universities Association at the end of 2007. The purpose of the network is to deepen the implementation of the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) within the university sector, primarily through the exchange of experience and practice between members.

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W

Workload Workload indicates the time students typically need to complete all learning activities (such as lectures, seminars, projects, practical work, self-study and examinations) required to achieve the expected learning outcomes.

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X

XCRI- Cap XCRI-CAP stands for eXchanging Course Related Information, Course Advertising Profile. XCRI-CAP is the UK standard for describing course marketing information. It shows how to structure the information, defines and names the data components and specifies the types of data permitted within each component. Its purpose is to enable information about courses and other kinds of learning opportunity to be shared efficiently between the computerised information systems used by learning providers and organisations collecting, aggregating and publishing information about courses. It is recommended by the UK government and is generally applicable across all sectors of UK education and training.

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