Future-proofing qualifications

The enormously anticipated, immensely complicated, review of the Australian Qualifications Framework is out this morning

Peter Noonan and colleagues say the AQF needs “significant reform,” warning the existing structure, “results in poor differentiation between some qualification types, and descriptions of skills and knowledge that do not reflect existing leading practice, let alone meet future requirements.”

The review proposes revising specifications for attributes and outcomes at qualification level and proposes possible new qualification types, a higher diploma, available in VET and HE and one at doctoral level, “that provides recognition of professional achievement and innovation.”

The panel also call for a comprehensive updating, including acknowledging micro-credentials, via recognition of prior learning, and proposes prototyping a national credit points system to, “give students a better sense of the learning outcomes they have attained in comparison to other qualifications.”

“A focus on credit recognition and RPL is essential to support lifelong learning as it will affect the return on investment of a new learning experience,” they add.

But while “stakeholders” do not support “shorter-form credentials” as AQF qualification types, Professor Noonan and colleagues, “formed the view that credit recognition was the preferred way of recognising shorter form credentials. They also suggest, “aligning a shorter form credential to an AQF band would show providers the complexity of material studied for credit purposes, as well as showing students and employers what outcomes to expect from the credential.”

Overall, they propose an AQF;

* which is less complex, with eight bands of knowledge and six bands of skills “more flexibly applied”

* where skills are defined as actions a person should be able to undertake

* with general capabilities – for example, digital literacy and ethical decision making – identified in individual qualifications

* provides credit recognition across AQF qualifications and recognition of shorter form credentials, including micro-credentials, towards AQF qualifications.

* includes a prototype for a voluntary national credit points system



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