Annual Programme Review (APR)

What is Annual Programme Review?

Annual Programme Review (APR) is the process by which all Programme Directors reflect on the curriculum and performance of their programme(s) during and after the academic year to reflect on, identify and implement enhancements to their programmes. It is a key quality assurance and enhancement exercise that places the student experience at the heart of the process, and is also an opportunity for Programme Directors to highlight any good practice that may in turn be shared with the wider University community.

Annual Programme Review is a continuous process of reflection which is currently conducted via completion of the Annual Programme Review form, created and distributed by Academic Quality Services, and linked to key performance data (quantitative and qualitative).


How has Annual Programme Review Evolved?

The new approach to Annual Programme Review focuses on recording continuous reflection and enhancement at the point at which information is available for review. The approach is designed to build a continuous record of each programme over time and to remove the lag inherent in traditional annual review processes by enabling academic staff to respond to live data and record actions they would likely be taking anyway, thus making the process more effective at driving enhancement, rather than a bureaucratic ‘tick box’ exercise. This practice is in line with the sector generally

A new Annual Programme Review Form was developed in 2018 and launches in January 2019. Relevant sections are flagged to Programme Directors throughout the year when relevant data becomes available. Programme Directors are invited to reflect on what has gone well for their programmes in certain areas, what has gone less well, and what actions are they going to take to enhance their programmes. This revised approach to action planning sees a single ‘live’ action plan managed by each Subject Area means that actions can be recorded and monitored more effectively across all areas.

The new approach aims to build a dialogue between Academic Quality Services, the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee, the Colleges/Schools and Programme Directors, who will be invited to identify where they may require further support.


Why should I Complete Annual Programme Review - How does it Benefit me or my Students?

Annual Programme Review is critical to the University in terms of ensuring quality, and is a requirement of the Quality Assurance Agency, but the review should primarily benefit Programme Directors and students to ensure the student experience is kept under continuous review, and enhancements can be made. By engaging fully and using the Annual Programme Review in this way, Programme Directors can reflect on potential enhancements, identify changes in the sector and take action to ensure the subject area is always finding opportunities for enhancement.

Not doing this may lead to poorer quality or provision and poorer outcomes, which will impact on subject area position in league tables, reputation and ultimately recruitment. This may in turn make the subject area or programme less viable to deliver.


What Data is Used During the Annual Programme Review, and Where does the Data Come from?

The Annual Programme Review process uses a range of key metrics to help you to assess the performance of your programme holistically, many of which are reflected in the Teaching Excellence Framework and League Tables, thus linking our internal review process to the external environment.

  • Recruitment and admissions data
  • Progression and completion data
  • Student Feedback (National Student Survey, Student Experience Survey, Postgraduate Taught Student Experience Survey
  • Graduate Outcomes
  • Longitudinal Educational Outcomes

Not all data is available at all levels as it will depend on how the data is collected (see ‘At what ‘level’ are the data available?’).

In addition, information from the Annual Module Review process should be used, along with reflection on qualitative information.

The data is drawn from that which is already held within the University (primarily within SITS), and is used for multiple purposes across the institution. Academic Quality Services work with the Planning and Strategic Projects data team to ensure accurate data is available and embedded within your specific Annual Programme Review form, making it easier for you to access the data. All data is held on the Swansea Insights website.

Any queries regarding the data should be sent to statistics@swansea.ac.uk.

For any other questions or if you require additional support, contact Academic Quality Services.


At What ‘Level’ is the Data Available?

The data is available at JACS subject level and individual programme level. The data at JACS level is more robust, reliable and can be externally benchmarked, therefore it is used as the primary data calculation level. However, sometimes this data can be challenging to interpret accurately in certain subject areas or programmes, therefore a lower level of data is provided at programme level.

A list of how programmes are mapped to the JACS framework is available on the Annual Programme Review SharePoint site.

If you have any concerns or requests with regard to the level of data available, please contact quality@swansea.ac.uk.


When do I need to Complete Annual Programme Review?

Annual Programme Review will now be completed throughout the year, with key phases due for completion around the following months, to mirror the release schedule for relevant elements of the data:

November; February; July; September

Academic Quality Services will communicate requirements and deadlines to All Programme Directors at the start of each year, with reminders when the information is circulated.

The final date for completion each year will be 30 September.


Who should Complete the Annual Programme Review Form?

Programme Directors are normally responsible for ensuring that the Annual Programme Review form is completed, but they should work with their Module Co-ordinators and Student Representatives from the outset, to ensure there is engagement and partnership throughout the process.


What Happens when I Complete each element of the Form?

Once Programme Directors complete the required elements of the Annual Programme Review form at points throughout the year, the should share this with the Subject Area’s Board of Studies and the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee. Academic Quality Services will also hold a copy of the form on record throughout the year, ensuring that the relevant sections are updated at the appropriate points to provide a central and ongoing record for each Subject Area/Programme.


How are Students Engaged in the Annual Programme Review?

The student voice is critical in Annual Programme Review. It is expected that Programme Directors work closely with Student Representatives throughout the year to ensure that the student voice is represented, and the review stimulates and records active dialogue between students and academic staff. Students will also be members of the Board of Students and College/School Learning and Teaching Committee, therefore are actively engaged at each stage of the review process.


What do the Academic Quality Services do with the Information?

The Academic Quality Services team takes Annual Programme Review seriously and appreciates the positive engagement of Programme Directors. They will monitor completion of the Annual Programme Review form at each stage, providing feedback throughout. At the end of each year they will complete a summary report for each College/School, in partnership with the Director of Learning and Teaching. This summary report is then submitted to the University’s Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee.

During the process, the Academic Quality Services team will flag any identified as a concern and will discuss these with the College’s/School’s Director of Learning and Teaching. This may result in potential further engagement and can trigger an Enhanced Quality Review. Similarly, the team will raise institutional challenges and barriers identified at the University’s Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee where potential actions can be identified.

The team will also identify and collate any good practice, and may contact the Programme Directors concerned to explore how this practice may be shared with the rest of the institution.


Who do I Contact if I have any Questions or Need Support?

Academic Quality Services are committed to providing reliable support to all University staff, and the team would be happy to meet with Programme Directors individually to discuss the Annual Programme Review process, and may also arrange drop-in or training sessions within Colleges/Schools upon request.

Please email any questions to Academic Quality Services or speak to your College/School Academic Quality Engagement Officer.


 

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