NextGen: HN webinar series – articulation and progression

Derek O’Riordan, SQA New Product Development Manager, reflects on discussions with partners and stakeholders around articulation and progression in relation to the NextGen: HN project.

March 10, 2022 - sqablogs - Categories: Articulation and progression

NextGen: HN

The second NextGen: HN webinar focused on articulation and progression.

We are committed to working with external partners and stakeholders at each stage of the development of Next Generation Higher National Qualifications (NextGen: HN). This is reflected in the recent opportunities to discuss our early thinking on articulation and progression.

Having recently joined SQA from industry, I was enthused by the level of engagement and interaction I witnessed over the course of six discussion sessions. Each session helped us consolidate our early thinking on the topic, by allowing stakeholders to share their thoughts, concerns, and ideas.

Delegates were not presented with final answers around what articulation and progression will look like in a NextGen world, but rather with the brave and often undervalued response of ‘we don’t know, yet’, alongside a call to action. In the spirit of our design principles, we genuinely want to work with the sector to shape policy from the ground up.

NextGen: HN Articulation and Progression Working Group

This commitment to collaboration is reflected in the establishment of the Articulation and Progression Working Group (APWG).

Members of the APWG represent a variety of institutions and sectors and their role is to provide SQA with advice, guidance and feedback. The group will also help us to understand the key requirements of employer, college, and university pathways and, where possible, identify opportunities to collaborate on evaluation and research activity.

The APWG met for the first time in November 2021 and will do so bi-annually for a period of up to five years in the first instance.

What do we mean by articulation and progression?

In December 2022, SQA appointed David McShane as Policy and Research Manager with responsibility for shaping the future of articulation and progression within the NextGen: HN project. David assumes this responsibility from Frances Rowan, who previously led this work strand.

As part of the recent stakeholder engagement sessions, David asked delegates to consider what they define as articulation and progression.

The Scottish Funding Council defines articulation as a student entering the second year of a degree programme with a Higher National Certificate (HNC), or into the third year with a Higher National Diploma (HND).

Articulation agreements are normally facilitated between colleges and higher education providers; based on the notion of credit accumulation and transfer (CAT).

In this context, ‘progression’ is generally defined as arrangements which enable entry to the first year of a degree programme (i.e. without advanced standing). Our working definition also includes progression into employment and/or other training providers, as well as movement within or between colleges.

Working in partnership to deliver for learners

With these definitions as a basis, David shared with delegates SQA’s suggested approach to engaging with the sector and with industry. He explained that a broad aim is to build connectivity between colleges, universities, employers and training providers, to establish a shared understanding of, and value placed on, NextGen qualifications.

This should allow a coherent approach to articulation and progression to be either established or strengthened; enabling NextGen qualifications to become a passport to further study, training and employment.

Further engagements are planned with universities, colleges, employers, training providers, professional and charters institutes, and membership bodies.

SQA’s NextGen: HN team view these early engagement opportunities as key to providing the level of advocacy, guidance, training, support and assistance which will be required by the sector when it encounters articulation and progression from NextGen qualifications for the first time in 2023/24.

Upcoming webinars

The NextGen: HN webinar series runs from January to June 2022. The dates and themes of upcoming webinars are listed below.

  • Quality Assurance – 24 March 2022, 4-5 pm
  • Grading Models – 21 April 2022, 4-5 pm
  • Learning for Sustainability – 24 May 2022, 4-5 pm
  • Pilot Reflections – 22 June 2022, 4-5 pm

Get further information and book to attend the webinars.

All webinars in the series will be recorded. The recording of the Articulation and Progression webinar is available on the NextGen: HN website.

If you would like to find out more about the NextGen: HN project or have any queries, please contact the team.