What is the Good Practices Database?
The Database has examples of:
- performing the validation of learning outcomes – validation is understood as the process of confirming that a person possesses knowledge, skills and social competences, regardless of how they have been acquired, often based on national qualifications frameworks and descriptions of qualifications presented in the language of learning outcomes;
- ensuring the quality of awarding qualifications – quality assurance is understood as the use of systemic solutions (e.g. cyclical evaluation) to continuously improve the process of awarding diplomas or certificates to people.
The Database is addressed to entities functioning in the Integrated Qualifications System (IQS) or planning such activities, which include:
- awarding bodies, i.e. institutions awarding the qualifications included in the IQS – as an inspiration when designing validation;
- entities applying to have qualifications included in the IQS – as an aid in determining the validation requirements;
- external quality assurance entities – as a source of examples of evaluation.
The examples presented contain comprehensive descriptions of the validation process performed by a specific institution providing a particular qualification or the entire quality assurance system adopted in a given field of education. This allows the solutions to be presented in the broad context in which they function, so that the reader can independently assess whether and under what conditions they can be applied in the Polish context.
The Good Practices Database was created as part of the non-competitive project “Support to central government administration, awarding bodies and quality assurance institutions in implementing stage I of the Integrated Qualifications System” implemented by the Educational Research Institute on behalf of the Ministry of National Education.
Validation and quality assurance in the Integrated Qualifications System
The validation of learning outcomes is an extremely important mechanism in the IQS. Only a positive validation result leads to having a certificate awarded that confirms the attainment of a qualification functioning in the system.
Validation may consist of three stages: identification, documentation and assessment of learning outcomes. It is a comprehensive approach, which can be used not only to attain a qualification, but also to broadly diagnose the learning outcomes a given person has. This process is performed in the IQS by institutions that have obtained formal authorisation to certify qualifications.
The quality of IQS qualifications depends, among others, on whether validation is credibly performed, i.e. in an accurate, reliable and relevant way. The credibility of the validation process performed by awarding bodies is ensured by external quality assurance entities, which have the important task of evaluating the qualifications awarding process in these bodies.
How did we obtain the good practices?
The source of the examples in the Database are the expert opinions obtained from specialists in Poland and abroad in the field of the validation of learning outcomes. These examples were selected to illustrate the following aspects of the process:
- the division into the three stages of validation (identification, documentation and assessment of learning outcomes) and certification;
- the support provided to persons undergoing the validation process, including counselling;
- the diverse methods used in validation, including non-traditional methods, such as the analysis of evidence and statements (sometimes described as the “portfolio method”);
- the various validation results, such as having a qualification awarded, being admitted to an educational programme, broadly diagnosing a person’s competences.
How can you use the Database?
Each good practice in validation has an interactive validation diagram that shows in a simple way how the process of confirming the qualification was designed. The diagram is also a navigation tool (clicking on an element of the process takes the reader to the relevant part of the text).
The good practices in quality assurance include infographics that present a synthesis of the most important elements of the given quality assurance system.
All the material available in the Good Practices Database can be downloaded in pdf format.