Guidelines for review of New Zealand qualifications at levels 1-6 on the NZQF

Each New Zealand qualification listed on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF) at levels 1-6 must be periodically reviewed to ensure it remains relevant, fit for purpose and continues to meet the needs of the learners, industry and stakeholders.

Qualification reviews are part of the lifecycle of a qualification and ensure the purpose and graduate profile read clearly and meet the needs of end users and guide programme owners.

The Guidelines for review of New Zealand qualifications at levels 1-6 of the NZQF (PDF, 384KB) outline the responsibilities of the different parties and stages for a review and provides guidance on managing each stage. This is to enable reviews to be undertaken and completed in a timely and effective manner.

The review will be informed by the principles underpinning qualification design and the requirements for qualifications which are available in the:

1. Responsibilities

The responsibilities of NZQA, qualification developers and programme owners are set out below:

1.1. NZQA

  • Develops and publishes a qualifications review schedule in conjunction with qualification developers.
  • Maintains relevant guidelines.  
  • Gathers data on qualification usage and provides a review support pack for qualification developers.
  • Triggers and tracks qualification reviews and notifies all education organisations with relevant programmes of the review.
  • Follows up and works with individual education organisations as required.
  • Notifies relevant education organisations of the outcomes of the review.
  • Conducts reviews of qualifications in accordance with the schedule.
  • Gathers data on the future needs of the sector, industry and community.
  • Plans the approach to the review and publishes the plan.
  • Works with the industry and community to identify relevant sector leaders and professional associations (where these are needed to support the review).
  • Co-ordinates and communicates with relevant stakeholders during the review.
  • Advises NZQA if any mandatory stakeholders do not participate in the review (mandatory stakeholders include education organisations providing programmes leading to the qualification).
  • Provides NZQA with periodic updates on the progress of the review, when requested.
  • Reports on the results of the review and applies to NZQA for approval to list where the review results in changes to the qualification(s).
  • Engage with the qualification review as a mandatory stakeholder.

1.2. Qualification developers

  • Conducts reviews of qualifications in accordance with the schedule.
  • Gathers data on the future needs of the sector, industry and community.
  • Plans the approach to the review and publishes the plan.
  • Works with the industry and community to identify relevant sector leaders and professional associations (where these are needed to support the review).
  • Co-ordinates and communicates with relevant stakeholders during the review.
  • Advises NZQA if any mandatory stakeholders do not participate in the review (mandatory stakeholders include education organisations providing programmes leading to the qualification).
  • Provides NZQA with periodic updates on the progress of the review, when requested.
  • Reports on the results of the review and applies to NZQA for approval to list where the review results in changes to the qualification(s).

1.3. Programme owners

  • Engage with the qualification review as a mandatory stakeholder.
  • Determine whether their programme continues to meet the outcomes of the qualification or if changes are required and either:
    • map their approved programme to demonstrate how it meets the outcomes and requirements of the reviewed qualification or
    • make any changes required and apply to NZQA for a programme change. The application should include the relevant transition arrangements for current learners.

2. Costs

Qualification developers and any relevant stakeholders are responsible for costs associated with the review. NZQA expects that the costs will be shared appropriately between participants.

The developer of each qualification is responsible for the costs of developing new qualifications arising from a review.

The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) has established a Qualification Development Fund. Information on the fund is available on the TEC website.

3. Stages of a review

A qualification review has four stages.

StageWhoActions
Preparing for a qualification review NZQA 1. Publish a qualification review schedule on the NZQA website.
2. Gather information on the qualification and send it to the qualification developer.
Qualification developer 3. Gather and collate information on the qualification and undertake an initial analysis of the data.
4. Establish a stakeholder profile.
5. Confirm all relevant qualifications are included.
NZQA 6. Trigger the review and advise programme owners and accredited education organisations.
Planning the review Qualification developer 1. Confirm the stakeholder profile and contact details.
2. Seek feedback from education organisations and industry, community or other end-users on current qualifications and any gaps in the set of qualifications.
3. Prepare a report of findings from the data and the feedback received.
4. Prepare and publish the plan for the review.
Conducting the review Qualification developer 1. Map current qualification to sector workforce requirements.
2. Determine whether the current qualifications are fit for purpose from the information gathered.
3. Work with stakeholders to confirm current and future workforce skill needs for the sector.
4. Assess each qualification and determine if changes are required.
5. Collate evidence of stakeholder support for revised qualifications.
Reporting the review Qualification developer 1. Reports the results of the review.
2. Creates any new qualifications as required.

4. Stage one: preparing for a qualification review

4.1. Actions

  1. NZQA publishes a review schedule in conjunction with qualification developers.
  2. NZQA and the qualification developer gather and collate information on the qualification(s) to inform the review.
  3. Qualification developer undertakes an initial analysis of the data.
  4. Qualification developer establishes a stakeholder profile.
  5. Qualification developer confirms all relevant qualifications are included.
  6. NZQA triggers the view and advises programme developers and accredited education organisations.

4.1. Guidance

Qualification review schedule

NZQA will work with qualification developers to develop a qualifications review schedule. This will be published on the NZQA website.

Information requirements for qualification reviews

NZQA will provide a review support pack, including data to assess current and future needs. This pack may include:

  • current qualification usage and programme approval data
  • links to key data sources (e.g. MBIE and INZ)
  • results from consistency review
  • other TEC data (e.g. MyQual data).

The support pack will also include links to relevant document templates that may be required for the review.

The qualification developer gathers industry and other data to assess current and future workforce skill need. For example:

  • Information about industry, community or other end-user workforce and skill trends.
  • Occupational skill profiles.
  • General feedback on the utility of the current qualifications.

Establish a stakeholder profile for the review

A stakeholder profile identifies the individuals, groups or organisations with an interest in the outcome of a qualification.

The stakeholder profile must be confirmed as appropriate, credible and representative of all stakeholders.

Factors triggering reviews of multiple or linked qualifications

The following factors may require a review of an individual or group of qualifications with a direct relationship to each other (e.g. education and/or employment pathways):

  • Major workforce changes or social, industry and technological shifts
  • Changes in legislation or government policy
  • Issues or problems identified with the qualification or group of qualifications (e.g. developing programmes, consistency reviews)
  • Lack of use of a qualification (e.g. no enrolments after two years or no programmes approved).

5. Stage two: planning the review

5.1. Actions

  1. Confirm the stakeholder profile.
  2. Prepare a report of findings from the analysis of the data.
  3. Confirm that all relevant qualifications are included.
  4. In discussion with the review participants, the qualification developer prepares a plan for the approach of the review. The plan could include:
  • objectives and scope of the review
  • roles and responsibilities including how decisions will be made and how the work will be undertaken
  • approach to consultation and communication
  • timelines and deliverables
  • resources
  • risks that may impact that review.

5.2. Guidance

Governance and operations

During the planning for the review, participants need to establish how decisions will be made and how the qualification development work will be undertaken. This applies particularly to reviews involving a range of education organisations and a diverse group of stakeholders.

Governance functions commonly include setting the direction and approach, overseeing the work and progress, and making decisions on the outcomes of the review.

Developing the plan

The objective of the review is to determine if the existing qualifications are still relevant, fit for purpose and continue to meet the needs of the industry, community and stakeholders for which they were developed.

The plan provides the parties involved in the review with clarity on the agreed approach, timelines, and respective roles and responsibilities. It is a central communication tool for all qualification developers and stakeholders.

The planned approach should be cost effective and appropriate for the stakeholders involved. For example, using electronic media where feasible to undertake work and reach decisions.

An example of a possible timeline with stages of the review is included as Appendix A.

The following approaches may be useful in planning stakeholder engagement.

Model 1

  • Written or verbal consultation with the appropriate stakeholders to agree who will represent them.
  • The representative group meets via face-to-face/video/teleconference meetings to progress the review, with individuals providing input and/or feedback and completing and reporting back on specific tasks.
  • The wider stakeholder group is kept up-to-date on progress through a web page set up for the review, regular emails or other communication channels.

Model 2

The qualification developers work with all stakeholders directly through face-to-face/video/teleconference meetings and email.

6. Stage three: conducting the review

6.1. Actions

  1. Map current qualifications to sector workforce requirements.
  2. Determine whether the current qualifications are fit for purpose from the information gathered.
  3. Work with stakeholders to confirm current and future workforce skill needs for the sector.
  4. Assess each qualification and determine if any changes are required. Identify if any new qualifications are required.
  5. Collate evidence of stakeholder support for revised qualifications.

6.2. Guidance

The size and scope of each review will vary depending on the number and nature of the qualifications and stakeholders involved. The steps described are recommended as one way to ensure the review process is credible and robust.

Map current qualifications to current roles/skill sets

Construct a clear map of the relationships between current workforce roles/skill sets, including the required skills of the role, and qualifications within the sector. This map may be in the form of a schematic, table, chart or matrix.

The map can be completed before consulting with stakeholders and will provide a starting point for the review and background information for discussions with stakeholders.

Creating the map involves:

  • identifying the current workforce roles/skill sets in the sector
  • arranging the roles/skill sets to reflect usual patterns of progression from entry level to advanced level
  • matching the current qualifications involved in the review to the identified roles/skill sets
  • identifying any:
  • roles that have changed since the previous qualification review
  • roles (with any associated qualifications) that the sector is phasing out
  • skills gaps in the current qualifications
  • new roles with no matching qualifications
  • validating the map using the data collected for the review.

Working with stakeholders

Work with stakeholders to confirm current and future needs and formulate recommendations for changes as required.

Confirm that the workforce roles/skill sets identified in the map are comprehensive and an accurate reflection of the current and future workforce needs of the sector.

Consulting with stakeholders

When consulting with stakeholders determine the most effective approach to consultation: e.g. SurveyMonkey, email, or workshops.

Analysing and assessing the qualifications

Analyse all the gathered information to determine whether the current qualifications are fit-for-purpose.

Assess each qualification and determine if any changes are required, including identifying if any new qualifications are required.

Confirm with stakeholders that the reviewed qualifications will meet the needs of the sector.

Collate evidence of stakeholder support for revised qualifications

Analyse the stakeholder feedback and, if necessary, make any changes as a result of this feedback.

Finalise the revised qualifications.

Confirm these revised qualifications with stakeholders and agree on:

  • the most appropriate action for each existing qualification and the likely timeframe for any change in status to Expiring or Discontinued if necessary
  • the transition to amended qualifications
  • any specific risks to be managed.

This evidence can be collected in the Involvement in Qualification Review Stakeholder attestation (DOCX, 48KB).

7. Stage four: reporting the review

7.1. Action

  1. Qualification developer reports the results of the review.
  2. Qualification developer creates any new qualifications as required.

7.2. Guidance

When the review is complete, the qualification developer needs to prepare a report with recommendations for the reviewed qualification(s) and submit it to NZQA.

The report should include what the changes are as a result of the review, evidence of appropriate engagement with stakeholders and support for the changes.

The report will include:

  • a table showing the outcomes of the review
  • each qualification included in the review along with a recommendation for any change to these qualifications, including the proposed date for the qualification status to be changed (e.g. from current to reviewed (expiring) or discontinued)
  • a summary of any new qualifications identified as needing to be developed.

Develop new qualification

Each new qualification will be submitted to NZQA for approval and listing on the NZQF using the Application to list a new qualification template (DOC, 86KB).

8. Plan on a page

See the outline of qualification developer review deliverables and timeline (JPG, 94KB) image.

Further information

For more information email us at NZQFQuestions@nzqa.govt.nz.

 
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