Quality and Student Experience are in our Heart
GradHat offers qualifications for international students who would like to pursue their undergraduate level degrees with UK universities. Quality of our qualifications and student experience are primary guiding principles of the curriculum of GradHat courses. Therefore, along with our partner institutions we continue to foster transforming the learning experience of our students through constant and rigorous reviewing of our curriculum for embedding the accepted standards of quality in teaching, learning and assessment.
GradHat promotes TESTA model
Assessment innovations at the individual module level often fail to address assessment problems at the programme-level, some of which, such as too much summative assessment and not enough formative assessment, are a direct consequence of module-focused course design and innovation. QAA course specification requirements (of outcomes and criteria) at the module level have not succeeded in clarifying for students the goals and standards they should be orienting their overall effort towards. There needs to be more consistency between modules, across programmes, and a greater emphasis on progressively developing students’ internalisation of programme-level standards, over time, rather than relying on documentation to specify criteria at the level of assignments or modules. Co-ordinated programme-wide assessment policy and practice is required to address both these issues.
Assessment has a powerful influence on what students pay attention to, how much time and effort they put in, the quality of their engagement with their studies, their understanding of the goals and standards that their efforts are oriented towards, and how much they learn. These assessment effects operate not just at course level, in relation to micro-level assessment tactics, but at programme level, in relation to overall assessment strategy. Some of these programme-level effects are the inevitable consequence of Quality Assurance regulations and procedures. There are predictable patterns of relationships between features of programme level assessment and patterns of student learning.
There are limitations to the extent to which individual teachers can solve assessment problems at course level: programme level solutions are usually necessary. The crucial features of programme level assessment can be audited using the TESTA methodology so as to allow comparisons with other programmes and identify where there are potential problem areas. The way students respond to programme-level assessment environments in their learning can be readily measured, using the Assessment Experience Questionnaire (AEQ), and can be illuminated through the use of focus groups. Teams of academics responsible collectively for the delivery of a programme find this triangulation of data (audit, AEQ and focus group) illuminating and convincing, and invariably use the data to inform extensive changes to assessment, at both programme and course level. Senior Management responsible for Quality Assurance are also likely to be influenced by the evidence and to consider changes to the regulatory environment which frames assessment. The impact of these changes can be measured by repeating the audit, administration of the AEQ and focus groups with a subsequent cohort of students who have experienced the changed assessment regime. Provided the TESTA methodology is adhered to, data can be collated into a central data base that allows comparison of programme data between institutions and programmes, making interpretation easier and identifying common assessment patterns and their consequences across different contexts.
Annual Quality Audit
GradHat has a reputation for excellence as a result of sustained success in higher education over a number of years. A commitment to maintaining academic standards and to continually enhancing the quality of its provision is key to this success. As a self-governing academic institution, GradHat is responsible for ensuring that appropriate academic standards are being achieved and a good quality education is being offered to its students. It is also publicly accountable for the quality and standards of its provision.
GradHat utilises a range of methods to annually review the quality and effectiveness of its programmes. These provide assurance of the standards and continuing validity of a programme and our partner institutions’ commitment to quality, while also making recommendations on its future enhancement and development. Annual reviews take the form of an internal panel, including external members, that sits to review the accuracy and scope of a self-evaluation report produced by partner institutions.