Continuous Assurance of Quality Enhancement (Collaborative Provision)

Information on ACR process

Download - CAQE Action Plan


The new annual monitoring process aims to align programme monitoring processes to the Continuous Assurance of Quality Enhancement (CAQE) that has been implemented internally, and proved effective, at Ulster University, and to subsequently streamline annual reporting undertaken by Faculty Partnership Managers (FPMs). The University’s position with regard to standards management and quality assurance requirements in partner institutions is that we will align them, where practicable, with the procedures in place for our own internal programmes.

As such a version of CAQE will be adopted for partner institution provision from the 19/20 academic year to:

  • enhance Faculty oversight of quality assurance processes within local and overseas partner institutions
  • replace the Self-Evaluation Report (SER) and reduce administrative burden for both partner and University staff
  • enable targeted enhancement activity and action planning within partner institutions
  • monitor articulation to Ulster University programmes.

Partner institutions will not be asked to produce any report or documentation for the 2018/19 annual course review. In line with the University CAQE process, staff in Quality Enhancement will review programme performance data, and partner institutions will be advised of outcomes in October. A range of quantitative and qualitative metrics and associated KPIs have been determined for collaborative provision (Annex 1). These benchmarks were agreed at the Collaborative Partnerships Forum.

Programme cohort sizes within partner institutions can be below the University’s minimum target (15) and it is acknowledged where cohorts are small, performance metrics expressed as a percentage may not be indicative of programme issues or performance. As such, absolute numbers will be taken into account where appropriate.

Where programmes meet or exceed University benchmarks, they will remain within their allocated revalidation year, within the quinquennial revalidation cycle. Partner institutions will not be asked to provide any additional documentation to the University. Programme teams, in collaboration with the FPM, will maintain local quality monitoring and enhancement through established processes namely Course Committees, SSCC meetings and Board of Examiners.

Course Directors will still be required to forward minutes of SSCC and Course Committee meetings routinely to the FPM. Course Directors will also still have to respond directly to the External Examiner report and share the report, and their response, with students. The FPM will still meet annually with students to ascertain their feedback on the quality of their learning experience. Annual monitoring through CAQE will determine whether a programme remains on the revalidation cycle year on year.

Where programmes do not meet baseline expectations programme teams, in collaboration with the FPM, will be prompted to review the datasets, explore the issues that are associated with below baseline performance and generate action plans. Action plans will be submitted to Quality Enhancement (November) using a template which will be provided by Quality Enhancement. Action plans will be distributed to relevant Faculty Associate Deans (Education), and FPMs for review. If action plans are agreed with no revisions, then programme teams will gain approval to implement and monitor these enhancement activities.

Should action plans fail to adequately address poor performance, or should they require revision, programme teams will then be invited to a CAQE Quality Review Panel (December) to explore issues in greater depth and to revise actions. Panels will be conducted by the Associate Dean (Education) from the associated Faculty, in conjunction with the FPM and representation from Quality Enhancement and other senior staff from within the Faculty as required. The appropriate Assistant Director, the HE Coordinator and the Course Director from the partner institutions will meet with the panel. These meetings may be conducted, where feasible, by video conferencing.

Programmes enrolling cohort sizes of below 10 students may submit action plans or attend Panel meetings to report on their business model and strategy to grow student numbers. All data will be considered holistically during review (including First-sit data and NSS outcomes where available), but only that data which is sensitive to identifying a need for enhancement will be enacted upon.

Potential outcomes from each Quality Review Panel are as follows:

  • Action plans to be revised and implemented
  • Programme revalidation to be expedited within the current cycle
  • Student intakes suspended pending further review

Quality Enhancement may undertake themed audits after evaluating the outcomes from Quality Review Panels.

The Associate Deans (Education) will report on the progress of NI Partner Institution action plans through monthly meetings with the PVC (Education).


Annex 1

Programme falls below required Benchmarks:

First Year intake: <10

Attrition: >3% below benchmark

Success 2 (End of Year):

  • Fd Degree, Yr 1 <75%   progression
  • Fd Degree, Yr 2 <80%   progression
  • Access Course <70%   progression

Concerns raised in EE/PSRB reports

Concerns raised in FPM annual report

CA3/revalidation – refused or with conditions