Revalidation of Courses
The purpose of revalidation is to:
- review the continuing validity and relevance of the stated aims of the course and the intended learning outcomes in accordance with QAA guidelines;
- enable an external subject expert or experts to contribute advice on the course;
- identify good practice for wider dissemination;
- identify areas for enhancement;
- audit the procedures of partner institutions for quality assurance and enhancement and the maintenance of academic standards as they apply to the course under review; and
- report to Senate via the relevant joint committee and LTC with a specific, reasoned decision about the future of the course.
1. Internal Revalidation Event
It is recommended that an internal event is held by the partner institution to give the course team initial feedback on the completed revalidation documentation and to ensure that what is presented to the full revalidation panel is of high a standard as possible.
The internal panel should include the partner institution Head of HE or equivalent and where possible an academic colleague from outside the subject area concerned.
2. Revalidation Panels
Revalidation panels are approved by the Academic Director of Partnerships and typically comprise:
- Chair (a senior member of UEA academic staff)
- at least one academic subject expert, external to the University and its partner institutions
- relevant employer and/or Sector Skills Council and/or Foundation Degree Forward representative(s)
- Student representative
- professional, accrediting and/or statutory regulatory body representative(s) as appropriate to the award(s)
- at least one member of academic staff from UEA (where possible from a cognate discipline area)
- an appropriate senior member of staff of the institution delivering the course, not normally drawn from the course team
- Partnerships Office representative.
UEA is responsible for identifying the UEA members of the revalidation panel. The institution concerned is responsible for nominating all other members of the panel, including the external academic, employer and/or professional body representative. These nominations should be submitted to the Partnerships Office and are subject to approval by the Head of Partnerships.
The course team should normally consist of key members of staff that will be involved in the delivery of the proposed course, normally up to a maximum of eight.
It is expected that panel members will normally meet with students during the revalidation event and where this is not the case, a rationale should be agreed in advance by the Chair. In the absence of any panel members on the day of the event, the decision as to whether the revalidation event should proceed is at the Chair’s discretion. It may be possible to continue with the event and deal with the contribution of the absent panel member by correspondence.
Up to two peers from the partner institution may be invited to attend revalidation events as observers, to facilitate staff development and the sharing of good practice, subject to agreement by the Chair.
Guidance notes for Panel Chairs, Panel Members and Panel Secretaries will be circulated to the panel with any revalidation documentation prior to the event.
3. Duties of the Revalidation Panel
It is the duty of the revalidation panel to:
- critically examine the revalidation documentation and undertake discussion with the course team in order to make a collective judgement as to the continuing quality and academic standard of the course and to ensure that the award conferred by the University of East Anglia is of an equivalent standard to comparable awards;
- agree whether the proposed course(s) should be revalidated.
4. Revalidation Documentation
The revalidation documentation provides the formal record of the course(s) to be offered to students. The Head of HE (or equivalent) is required to sign of all documentation before it is submitted to UEA and the panel. There is a revalidation document checklist which details all the documentation required. Key documents will include: a revalidation self-evaluation document; an up-to-date programme specification; course handbook and staff CVs.
Templates and guidance relating to these documents can be found on our Handbooks, Policies and Forms page on the main Partnerships Office website.
5. Revalidation Event
A revalidation event normally takes place over a full day depending on the size and nature of the award(s) being revalidated. The agenda is normally based upon a standard agenda which may be modified as appropriate for each revalidation event. An example of a typical agenda for a revalidation event can be used for guidance.
The agenda will include one or more blocks of time in which the panel may discuss the course in detail with the course team, and in which the course team will have the opportunity to respond to points raised. The panel will need to be assured of the continuing rationale for the course concerned and that the course team has the necessary resource base for the continued successful running of the course. In addition, the panel would expect to be assured that issues identified through annual monitoring, including the comments of students and External Examiners, have been addressed.
The Chair is responsible for highlighting positive aspects of the course and raising issues in a constructive but critical manner. A successful revalidation event will be characterised by constructive dialogue, structured around the self-evaluation document provided by the course team under review.
A meeting will normally be held with a group of students registered (or previously registered) on the course under review. The course team will not be present for this part of the review. Where appropriate, a tour of facilities and any specialist resources will also be included in the course.
After debate, it is usual for the course team to depart to allow the panel members to determine their recommendations. The Chair normally commences this second private meeting of the panel by summarising the issues and the course team’s responses and s/he will conclude the meeting by agreeing the outcome of the event with the panel before inviting the course team back for verbal feedback. Where the decision of the Panel is not unanimous, the decision of the Chair is final.
During the feedback session, the Chair will announce the outcome of the event and notify the course team of any conditions, requirements and/or recommendations that should be addressed or considered. A deadline, which is normally 6 weeks after the event, will be set by which conditions and/or recommendations should be met and/or responded to and a decision made by the Chair as to whether the conditions should be met via a conditions meeting or by correspondence. The Chair and Secretary will liaise to ensure that draft conditions and recommendations are circulated to the course team within five working days of the event.
There are three possible outcomes from a revalidation event:
- decision to revalidate the course, in which case no further action by the course team is required;
- rejection of the proposed course;
- decision to revalidate the course with conditions and/or requirements and/or recommendations, in which case the course team must provide the Chair with evidence, within any agreed timescales, that the conditions and/or requirements have been met, and must respond to any recommendations.
Commendations allow the panel a chance to congratulate the course team on aspects of good practice.
Conditions are those issues that must be addressed to the satisfaction of the revalidation panel prior to successful revalidation, by agreed deadlines.
Requirements are those issues on which action will be expected beyond the start of the following academic session, by agreed deadlines, and progress will be monitored through the relevant joint committee.
Recommendations are those issues on which action is to be considered, possibly beyond the start of the following academic session.
It is usual for the panel to specify the date by which the conditions and/or requirements must be met and to recommend the period of re-validation, which for most courses is five years.
The revalidation panel may not set further conditions and/or requirements after it has reported.
Use of the revalidation report template is recommended.
7. Course Team’s Response
The course team makes a formal response to the revalidation outcomes report, by the agreed deadlines, evidencing how specific conditions and/or requirements have been met and addressing any recommendations that were made using the action plan, Appendix A of the revalidation report. This response should be reviewed by the Chair of the internal revalidation event where appropriate, before it is submitted to the Partnerships Office for consideration and comment before it is sent on to the revalidation panel Chair for consideration. The Chair may sign off the response for the course team. There is a 'Outcome for Chair's Sign Off' form template for this process. Alternatively the Chair may send the response back for further evidence.
Responses are monitored by the relevant Joint Board of Study or Joint Committee.
The formal response should include:
- amended documents;
- a brief summary of how each condition and/or requirement has been met with reference to the amended documents;
- how each recommendation has been considered;
- any other appropriate evidence.
Conditions are signed off by correspondence under Chair’s Action, in consultation with Panel members as necessary.
If the conditions have been met, the Chair will recommend Institutional Approval. If in the Chair’s opinion any condition has not been met or further evidence is required, the Chair will consider the further documentation which will address only the outstanding issues, in consultation with Panel members as necessary. If the conditions are not able to be met, the matter should be referred back to LTC to determine whether to request that the prospective institution undertake further work on the proposal and proceed to a further Institutional Approval or to withdraw altogether.