The Quality Review Process Explained

The Quality Review process has been designed to be data informed, risk based and to deliver a focused approach to Quality Assurance and Enhancement, reflecting national changes including the Teaching Excellence Framework and the QAA’s revised approach to institutional Quality Enhancement Reviews in Wales.

The Quality Review itself considers the findings and actions of the Annual Programme Review process for the previous five years, within the context of a broader and more holistic review approach. The Quality Review takes into account all aspects which drive or impact upon the student experience, including learning, teaching and assessment; research performance and its interface with teaching; departmental culture and practice; and  other quality assurance information (such as Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) engagement), ensuring that the approach is integrated and avoids duplication of effort where appropriate. The Quality Review Process applies to ALL subject areas and programmes, including newly introduced programmes where cohorts have yet to graduate and programmes subject to professional/statutory body accreditation. 

The Quality Review Process applies to ALL subject areas and programmes, including newly introduced programmes where cohorts have yet to graduate and programmes subject to professional/statutory body accreditation.

Academic Quality Service has developed an optimised and graded approach to implementing the Quality Review ProcessThis ensures that it is lean and robust, pro-active and flexible and tailored according to need. 

Quality Review normally takes place every five years where a programme performs within defined parameters and is assessed as low risk.

If the subject area/programme has been subject to an Enhanced Quality Review, the Quality Review point will change to ensure a five-year review process is maintained, unless otherwise determined through risk assessment.


Enhanced Quality Reviews

Enhanced Quality Reviews are used to ensure the University can intervene early where a risk to the student experience is identified (e.g. when a subject area performance falls below expectations in a student survey), to identify and help Colleges/Schools resolve issues swiftly. Enhanced Quality Reviews can occur as frequently as required and whilst proportionate, can be intensive and focussed where action to enhance a particular programme or subject areas is required.

On the other hand, if the collected evidence from previous years of review indicate a record of continuing high performance then the need for quinquennial Quality Review is negated. Academic Quality Services will determine the type of Quality Review that your programme/ subject area will be subject to.

Factors Determining the Type of Quality Review Required:

  • Programme maturity
  • Last external accreditation by professional body
  • Funding model
  • Enrolment/ Admissions trends
  • Retentions trends
  • Module performance trends
  • Programme performance trends/ Student outcomes
  • NSS Student Experience risk
  • External Examiners risks
  • Action Plans/APR risks
  • Culture risk
  • Student complaints

How do the Types of Quality Review Differ?

The quinquennial Quality Review and Enhanced Quality Review cover the same information to the same depth. This ensures the consistency and rigour of the quality assurance process throughout. However, due to the wide range of subject area and programme types at Swansea, and the consequent potential for highly specific local issues, Academic Quality Services may in some cases work with the College/School Directors of Learning and Teaching and/or Postgraduate Research to adapt the Quality Review process to meet local needs. Please contact quality@swansea.ac.uk to discuss any specific requirements.

The Quality Review process is designed to:

  • Ensure that the curricula, learning outcomes, structure, teaching, learning and assessment methods remain valid, current and appropriate in the light of external subject standards, latest academic and pedagogic research and practise and the UK Quality Code for Higher Education, and deliver the student experience expected of a Swansea University award.
  • Ensure that the Subject Area or Programme under review has the resources, expertise, space and facilities to continue to deliver an excellent student experience.
  • Ensure an effective culture is in place within the subject area to embed an approach of continuous enhancement and student partnership.
  • Highlight areas of good practice or innovation worthy of dissemination and to draw to the attention of the institution matters of generic interest or concern.
  • Ensure that appropriate and timely action is taken to address shortcomings identified by students, the College/School, the University or other stakeholders including external bodies.

The Core Elements of Quality Reviews

There are three core element of all Quality Reviews (Scheduled or Enhanced):

  • Self-Evaluation Document (SED): Is a structured and data-informed, self-reflection exercise designed to ensure subject area teams reflect fully on the performance of all aspects of their subject and programmes, and explore ideas for enhancing the student experience. The document brings together key information around learning, teaching and assessment, culture and values and postgraduate research, to ensure subject areas reflect holistically, and provides subject leaders with the opportunity to provide context for the Quality Review Event. As the Self-Evaluation Document includes the core information included in Annual Programme Review, subject areas undergoing Quality Review are exempt from the Annual Review process. The Self-Evaluation Document and the data contained within provide the basis for risk assessment, which will determine the type of review required.
  • Quality Review Event: The primary benefit of the Quality Review process is in bringing stakeholders together to talk through the challenges and learn from effective practice. A meeting, varying in time between a few hours and two days) will be held to ensure the subject area can be reviewed in depth, and conclusions for enhancement formed. The Subject Area/Programme Team will meet with the Review Team, which will include academics, students, an External Subject Specialist and, increasingly, engage employers wherever possible.
  • Quality Review Report: Reports will be published within five working days of the Quality Review Event, and will provide a summary record of areas of discussion and any commendations, requirements and recommendations made by the Review Team. The Subject Area must provide a response to actions taken to address any requirements and recommendations within the timeframe provided by the Review Team.

  • Actions Required:
    • Reflect on the trends and actions identified within the previous Annual Programme Reviews
    • Complete the Self-Evaluation Document and submit to quality@swansea.ac.uk
    • Take part in Quality Review Event
    • Address any requirements or recommendations within the timeframe agreed

  • < Annual Programme Review (APR) | Annual Portfolio Review>

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