SEEC Credit Level Descriptors 2010
The original SEEC credit level descriptors were published in 1996 (Credit Guidelines, Models and Protocols; DfEE 1996). They had been developed, over two years, by colleagues from SEEC institutions in collaboration with representatives from member institutions of the Higher Education Credit Initiative Wales (HECIW). In 2001/2 these descriptors were revised to reflect the four categories adopted the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher education (QAA) for subject review and building on the areas identified in the National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education (Dearing Report, 1997):
- Development of Knowledge and Understanding
- Cognitive/Intellectual skills
- Key/transferable skills
- Practical skills
Much of the work for that revision was undertaken by colleagues at the, then, Anglia Polytechnic University and further revised by a SEEC working group. The new 2010 edition of the credit level descriptors builds on this previous work and we are indebted to all those who contributed to earlier versions.
Developing the new Guidelines
Since 2001, a number of developments in credit and its use prompted the SEEC General Council to undertake a further review and revision of the level descriptors. These included:
- The implementation of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) in August 2008
- The issuing of guidance on academic credit arrangements in higher education in England in August 2008
- Moves towards the harmonisation of definitions and the use of credit across Europe (see A Framework for Qualification in the European Higher Education Area; available at www.bologna-bergen2005.no/Docs/00-Main_doc/050218_QF_EHEA.pdf ) and through revisions to the European Credit Accumulation and Transfer System www.ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc/ects/guide_en.pdf )
- The development of the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) by the QCA to cover vocational education up to level 8
- Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales available at http://wales.gov.uk/topics/educationandskills/learningproviders/creditqualificationsframework/?lang=en
- The Scottish Credit and Qualifications (see SCQF Handbook, volumes 1 & 2, available at www.scqf.org.uk)
In 2009 SEEC undertook a review of the use made by member institutions of its existing credit level descriptors which showed that they had often become embedded within institutional frameworks and provided a useful reference source. However, extended experience of the use of credit, particularly in relation to work-based learning and accreditation, suggested the need to review the descriptors to more clearly reference higher-level learning in these contexts and to ensure that they remained appropriate for likely future developments. A SEEC working group produced revised descriptors which were further reviewed though consultation with members and their representatives. The 2010 descriptors represent the outcome of this process.