Information for degree monitors

The information below is for those people monitoring degree programmes. It should be read in conjunction with Monitoring of NZQA Approved Degrees and Related Qualifications - Guidelines(the Guidelines), which provides more detailed information about the process.

The monitoring process

Purpose

The purpose of monitoring degrees and related qualifications is to provide NZQA (and the public) with assurance that a qualification is being delivered in accordance with the requirements of the initial approval and accreditation, and that the qualification is still degree worthy and still meets the needs of stakeholders. See the Guidelines for more details.

Your contract

Your contract is renewed each year for the duration of your involvement with the monitoring process. NZQA will usually do this in January or February. The contract outlines the terms and conditions of the appointment, including your responsibilities and those of NZQA.

The first monitoring visit

On the first monitoring visit, usually three quarters of the way through the first year of offering the degree, an advisor who works for NZQA will accompany you. It is likely that you and the advisor were on the degree approval panel. The advisor will contact you to discuss possible dates for the visit (refer Guidelines, Section 6). Arrangements for travel and accommodation will be finalised, and agenda arrangements will also be discussed with you. If this is your first role as a degree monitor, the advisor will provide some guidance on NZQA procedures and expectations (refer Guidelines, Section 5).

Monitoring visits will generally take one day and will include meetings (or telephone discussions where appropriate) with stakeholders.

The provider's Annual Programme Evaluation Report (APER) on the degree

The provider should give their APER to you, not NZQA. Depending on the date of such reporting, it may be more useful for you to contact the provider and request some specific, updated information, or to indicate what you will need to see during the visit.

Writing the monitor's report

Writing the report of the monitoring visit is your responsibility. However, on the first visit, and any other visits when you are accompanied by an NZQA advisor, the advisor will take responsibility for drafting the report. The content of the report should be as described.

The provider should be given the opportunity to verify that the report is factually accurate. Accordingly, you will need to send the draft report to the provider for it to be checked, prior to sending it to NZQA. This check only relates to confirming factual accuracy, and is not an opportunity for the provider to comment on any other issues raised.

Your report should be completed within four weeks of the monitoring visit. To meet this deadline, the draft report should be completed and a copy sent to the provider within ten working days of the monitoring visit. The provider is given two days to confirm factual accuracy.

Your report may contain recommendations to the provider for improvements or further development of aspects of the degree. You should note that it is not appropriate to set "requirements" while monitoring. As you will recall from the degree panel visit, requirements must be addressed by the provider before the panel is prepared to recommend that NZQA approve the degree. Requirements are not appropriate during monitoring.

If you identify a major or ongoing problem with the degree, and the provider cannot, or will not, address the matter, then you should provide clear information in your report on how serious the situation is, make recommendations to NZQA on the actions you consider to be necessary, and contact NZQA.

Monitoring in year two and subsequent years

After the first visit you will usually arrange and make the monitoring visit on your own, and be responsible for writing the report. However, there may be occasions when an NZQA advisor will be involved in visits after the first year. This will be determined by NZQA following discussion with you as monitor, the NZQA advisor and the provider.

Assuming there is no NZQA advisor involvement, you should contact the establishment early in the year and make provisional arrangements for the monitoring visit later in the year. You should also check to see if the provider is prepared to book your travel and accommodation if required. Advise the NZQA advisor of the date of the visit and whether they will need to book your travel and accommodation.

Support and advice to providers

While the purpose of monitoring does not explicitly include the provision of support and advice to a provider, NZQA sees this as an inevitable and acceptable part of professional interaction involved in monitoring. Avoid, however, any possible conflict of interest. There can be a fine dividing line between professional advice and conflict of interest, so check with NZQA if you are uncertain.

Changes to degree programmes

Ongoing change and development is an important component of a degree programme. While on the monitoring visit you may find that the provider is not aware of what level of change can be made without prior approval by NZQA. There are two categories of change, one of which does not require direct involvement by NZQA. However, you will have a role in all levels of change as the NZQA monitor. If you are asked for advice on a situation that is not defined in the Guidelines, you should contact the NZQA advisor for clarification, or advise the provider to do so.

Monitoring by APER

When a provider considers that the programme and its delivery are stable, and that all conditions for changing monitoring status (see below) are met, an application may be made to NZQA to transfer to monitoring by annual programme evaluation report. This application would normally be made following consultation between you, the monitor, and the provider.

Once approval for monitoring by APER is granted, your contract as monitor with NZQA will be discontinued and the APER will be sent to NZQA. However, it is not unusual for a provider to ask the person who has been the NZQA monitor to continue in the role of external monitor.

Reviews

NZQA expects that all degree providers will undertake a major evaluation of any degree programme at least every five years and that this evaluation will include input from the wider professional and academic communities. The findings of these reviews should be reported to NZQA by the provider at the time of the annual report.

Who to contact with enquiries

For enquiries please email qaadmin@nzqa.govt.nz

the Client Services team can help with the following areas:

  • oversight of the monitoring process
  • procedures for the monitoring visit
  • preparation of the report
  • following up concerns with providers
  • dates of visits
  • contracts
  • travel and accommodation
  • reimbursements.

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