The higher education sector is facing extraordinary pressures as it responds to the impact of COVID-19. We recognise that staff across institutions are working tirelessly to ensure quality and standards are robustly maintained while they implement significant changes to teaching and assessment and as provision moves to online platforms. It is crucial that students can continue to take pride in their qualifications and that the value of their degree is not adversely affected by the response to the current pandemic.

The UKSCQA is, with the backing of UUK & Guild HE, encouraging providers in England and Wales* to continue with plans to publish degree outcome statements – and to now aim for publication by the end of the 2019/20 academic year, where possible. We know from talking to many institutions that considerable work has already been undertaken and that most institutions were already in the process of drafting their statements for publication, with several already having published theirs and would encourage other institutions close to that point to publish where possible. Degree outcomes statements are not a regulatory requirement in England; in Wales, institutions have collectively opted to produce degree outcome statements. However, the UKSCQA feels this remains important work.

We recognise that institutions will find themselves in a wide variety of places, both in their progress on degree outcome statements to date and in the amount of additional attention which is now being diverted to activities relating to COVID-19. Key meetings of the internal committees and boards required to sign-off the degree outcomes statements may also be being rescheduled or be busy discussing responses to the pandemic. We are sensitive to these concerns and appreciate that there may be cases in which it is simply not possible to publish by the end of the current academic year. As we seek to continue to demonstrate our commitment as a sector to maintaining academic standards, we would strongly encourage institutions to publish their statements on this timescale where they can, and by the end of the 2020 calendar year if this should not prove possible.

The UKSCQA is committed to reviewing progress on the sector’s activity at the end of the 2019/20 academic year. This review of progress will take into account the challenging circumstances faced by institutions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

For more information on degree outcomes statements, please refer to guidance available on the QAA website.

* Degree outcomes statements are not being used in Northern Ireland. In Scotland, information that might be included with degree outcomes statements is considered as part of existing activity in the Quality Enhancement Framework; for example: institution-led review and student engagement.

Posted: 4th May 2020