The Australian Qualifications Framework: planning update
The Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) is a national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.
UoN is currently establishing the requirements outlined in the AQF 2011 and this is progressing well. Academic Senate established the AQF Steering Committee (AQF SC) and more recently, the AQF Project Group (AQF PG). Both are working to ensure that UoN meets all timelines.
Keep watching In the Loop and Academic Senate papers for updates on the AQF and what it means for UoN.
AQF levels and other points:
The AQF has an organising framework of levels and qualification types. There are 10 levels with level 1 having the lowest complexity and level 10 the highest complexity. The levels are defined by criteria expressed as learning outcomes.
Below is an update of where UoN is up to in the planning stage:
Level 5 - Diplomas may be at this level, the AQF Council is still to advise. We offer 3 diplomas. Which disciplines?
Level 6 - Associate Degrees - we don't offer any now but, could in future.
Level 7 - Bachelor Degrees, our 240 unit degrees fit here. So will 320 unit programs unable to meet the learning outcomes for Level 8. Senate supports, in principle, all 320 unit programs being level 8, but they must meet Level 8 learning outcomes.
Level 8 - Bachelor Honours Degrees, end-on (1 year) and embedded (in 4 year degree, 320 units). And yes, programs that meet the specified level 8 learning outcomes award an Honours degree. Does this devalue Honours? No, already some Uni's award 'real' Honours and others 'with' Honours. After 2014, all Australian Honours degrees will be level 8 and will have to meet the level-specific learning outcomes.
Level 9 - Masters Degrees. Coursework and Research Masters Degrees - right? Add 'Extended' masters degrees too. Six disciplines with level 9 Extended Masters graduates can use the title 'doctor'. Name the 3 disciplines we have that could do this.
Level 10 - Doctoral Degrees. A clear focus for all doctorates - research. A big change for some disciplines and many existing professional doctorates will need more research to comply.
Generic learning outcomes - are these UoN Graduate Attributes in disguise? The AQF Project Group think they are and that we should update (after some editing).
Level specific learning outcomes - most are easily understood. A working party of Research Committee is considering those that aren't (the last one in levels 8, each level 9 and level 10).
Will complying with AQF improve students' views of our programs?
Yes, if we also focus on doing everything else we can to improve student outcomes while establishing AQF compliance.
Professor Val Robertson
President of Academic Senate
14 May 2012