Teaching colleagues in the Moray House School of Education have been working with the British Association of Snowsport Instructors and other local education providers to undertake credit-rating for teaching qualifications.
The University of Edinburgh is a credit-rating body (CRB) for the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF), which means that as a university, we have the power to decide for ourselves what levels in the framework our courses fit into, and how many credits they should be awarded. Relatively less well understood, is the fact that all CRBs can also credit rate the provision of external organisations in a process known as ‘third party’ credit rating.
The Moray House School of Education (MHSE) is undertaking the credit rating of the British Association of Snowsports Instructors (BASI) qualifications. A Memorandum of Understanding and a Memorandum of Agreement for this work have been signed by The University of Edinburgh court. Credit rating their provision allows BASI to demonstrate to their trainee instructors the level of their training, with subsequent benefits to trainees in being able to show employers the level of knowledge and skills they have developed. In some cases, credit rating may also allow for transferability or advanced entry into other related programmes.
The team working on this project is now into the fourth ‘round’ of credit rating of BASI courses, and has completed the credit rating of all the courses for the Alpine Ski Instructor Qualifications awarded by BASI. This encompasses the full progression from BASI level 1 (now rated as SCQF level 6) to BASI level 4 (SCQF level 10). This is just the beginning of our work with BASI, who have many more courses in the various different disciplines of snowsports, all of which they wish to credit rate.
The growing understanding and involvement in credit rating fostered by the first BASI activities, led to a parallel project with the Scottish Government. This entailed working in partnership with six local authorities to benchmark existing courses and then credit rate new courses for teachers across a range of SCQF levels (two at level 11). Through these actions, the MHSE and the University of Edinburgh were able to make an impact on the educational provision for teachers and learners in those local authorities. This project also brought in funding which facilitated further work and research in this area. Interest in third-party credit rating is beginning to ripple more widely at the University of Edinburgh with the development of a formal policy on third-party credit rating, and the Business School is now involved in similar activities.
There is no doubt that this kind of partnership is a rewarding two-way street for both organisations. In the case of the external partner, the process develops their knowledge and skills in understanding constructive alignment and using it to develop courses, understanding the credit-rating process and the SCQF framework, and providing reassurance of the quality of their courses. BASI is already seeing a positive impact on their enrolment, training processes and participant satisfaction.
In the case of the University and the Schools involved, this is an important way of contributing to the University’s widening participation agenda. So far, the project has enhanced understanding of credit rating and its purposes, informed university processes, developed policy and inter-departmental working, and strengthened staff’s expertise in course design. While this activity is not necessarily a profit-making, commercial one, it has nonetheless allowed the Institute to access funds which have contributed to further research, contributed to the partnership activities of the University and the Institute, and also strengthened our links in the community.
If you or someone in your department would like to get a credit-rating project going, please get in touch with Academic Services to explore this interesting option further.