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Foundation degrees: a risky business?

Rowley, Jennifer (2005) Foundation degrees: a risky business? Quality Assurance in Education, 13 (1). pp. 6-16. ISSN 1758-7662

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Abstract

Abstract: Purpose – Foundation degrees, the new proposal for sub-degree vocational education in the UK, are characterised by innovation both in their design (curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment) and in the marketplace for which they are designed. This article argues that the development and delivery of foundation degrees carry a high level of risk, and encourages reflection on the nature and impact of those risks. Design/methodology/approach – The article discusses the sources of the risks associated with the development of foundation degrees, as a platform for the development of strategies for the management of risk, and positive quality management. The discussion is developed under the following headings: working in partnership, validation processes, curriculum and learning issues, marketplace and admission issues, staffing and organisational issues, and the student experience. Findings – There are a number of sources of support and advice to assist in mitigation of the risks, but ultimately the responsibility for the management of the risks rests with employers, educational institutions, their staff and students. Originality/value – The article surfaces a range of issues relating to risks and their management in the context of foundation degrees. It should inform curriculum development, and the development of quality management systems for the management of foundation degrees.

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