Procedures for Course Review & Revalidation

Procedures for Course Review & Revalidation




Section 1: Introduction 2

Section 2: Risk and Risk Management3

Section 3: Key Features of Course Review & Revalidation4

Section 4: Preparation for Course Review & Revalidation7

Section 5: The Review Period11

Section 6: The Reporting Process12


Section 1: Introduction13

Section 2: Process13


Section 1: Introduction14

Section 2: Application of Interim Course Review Process14

Section 3: Documentation15

Section 4: Process15

Section 5: Outcome16

Appendix 1: Course Review and Re-validation (CRR) Template

Appendix 2: Nomination forms for CRR Panel members

Appendix 3: External Panel Members Comments Form

Appendix 4: CRR Report

Appendix 5: CRR Action Plan

Appendix 6: ICRP Report


These procedures have been written for those involved in Course ReviewRevalidation (CRR) of the University’s academic provision. They also apply to revalidation where significant changes are being proposed to courses between formal points of course validation and review & revalidation and to interim course reviews which are an opportunity for the Course Team to undertake a critical appraisal of a new course after the first year of operation.Part Adescribes the process for CRR. Part B describes the process for revalidation where Course Review is not required.Part C describes the process for Interim Course Review. Whilst the document has been structured around the logical sequence of activities for CRR, it has also been designed so the reader may access individual sections as required.



  1. QAA UK Quality Code
  2. QAA Assuring Standards and Quality
  3. Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW)


  1. Procedures for Course Approval
  2. Course Developer’s Guide
  3. The Regulations for Taught Courses
  4. Guidelines for the Development of Foundation Degrees
  5. Policy for Placement and Work-Based Learning

All of the above can be found at



1.1Course Review& Revalidation (CRR)is the process through which the University assures itself of the maintenance of academic standards and quality of its higher education provision. It is an enhancement-focused review process that seeks to identify both current and future means to enhance the quality of the student learning experience. CRRis an opportunity for course teams to think holistically and strategically about their provision and develop longer term plans and objectives. To do this, the cumulative effect of change needs to be evaluated and account has to be taken of both internal andexternal environments that may have an impact on the provision, taking into account the current UK legislation in relation to equality and diversity.

1.2The CRRprocess requires a self-critical, evidence-based evaluationof a course or group of cognate courses. The emphasis is on building strengths, identifying and assessing actual and potential risks to the quality, standards and viability of provision, and highlighting any areas for enhancement to exploit opportunities and minimise threats emanating from internal and external environments in which the provision operates. CRR is a peer process involving internal staff, students and othersexternal to the University. The University is committed to ensuring the process is supportive and non-adversarial in character.

1.3CRR is designed to be developmental. Reviewers will be keen to explore how current and future developments are informed by research/scholarly activity, learning, teaching and assessment, and how these are effectively managed through resource planning, staff development, CPD, quality management and enhancement.

Social Inclusion

1.4Socially inclusive practice is where everyone is treated fairly and their individuality is respected and valued. Difference is accepted and openly discussed to enhance understanding. Practice is organic and evaluated for future improvement(s).

1.5CRR provides an important opportunity for the University to assure itself that its courses demonstrate awareness of the diverse needs of its learners in respect of age, disability, gender, ethnicity, religion and sexuality. Reviewers engage with equality and diversity themes from the outset. It is therefore important that the Briefing Paper addresses how and to what extent strands of diversity are incorporated into academic provision.

The Review Cycle

1.6CRRoccurs once within a fixed six-year cycle. It focuses on the competence and capacity of course teams to manage and develop course(s) of study and students’ learning experiences. Timing of CRRsis negotiated between Faculties/College and the Quality Unit and formally approved by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) at the beginning of the six-year period (see paragraph 3.8). QAC should be notified of proposed revisions to the schedule after approval.


2.1Risk assessmententails a form of ‘SWOT’ analysis. In analysing the risks associated with Course Review & Revalidation it is helpful to make a distinction between risk potential (strengths and weaknesses) and risk factors (opportunities and threats). A SWOT-based risk assessment attempts to anticipate (and ultimately pre-empt) problems that might occur in the future. However, consideration must be given to any evidence that suggests that the course, or related provision, is already ‘at risk’. This evidence might include:

  • Annual monitoring reports;
  • Previous validation and CRR reports;
  • Collaborative arrangement and partnership review reports;
  • Statistical data on student recruitment, progression, retention and achievement;
  • External examiners’ reports;
  • National Student Survey (NSS) data;
  • Professional body reports (where relevant).

2.2In terms of CRR, course teams and senior managers are encouraged to think about the following risk factors:

  • The market – changing patterns of student or employer demand, competition (now or in the future) from other higher education institutions or private sector providers, and other factors which might impede the University’s ability to exploit the market for the proposal.
  • The regulatory environment – current or future developments in Government policy, funding regulations or the requirements of QAA and of Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Bodies (PSRB).
  • Institutional – current or future operation of the University’s administrative or quality management systems, management arrangements and changing institutional or Faculty priorities.
  • Resources – the availability of staff to teach, learning support and specialist equipment required.

Managing Risks

2.3The University manages risks by:

  • Requiring that all CRRReports are considered and formally approved by QAC.
  • Varying the size and composition of (re)validation panels based upon analysis of the characteristics of the proposed course, the capacity and capability of the course team(s) that will be responsible for delivery and the actual or anticipated ‘risk factors’.


3.1CRRaims to:

  • support course teams in evaluating and improving their management of HE provision, for the benefit of students;
  • evaluate and confirm the maintenance of academic standards and the enhancement of the quality of learning opportunities within the subject area taking account of:

- engagement with the QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education, other elements of the Academic Infrastructureand other external reference points;

- developments in the discipline;

- developments in learning, teaching and assessment;

- outcomes of previous external audits and reviews, Course ReviewRevalidation and Annual Monitoring;

- equality and diversity legislation requiring an inclusive curriculum for all students, ensuring that those students with protected characteristics are not, directly or indirectly, disadvantaged.

  • provide opportunities for dialogue concerning current and future means of enhancing the student learning experience and an assessment of these enhancement developments and initiatives;
  • validate claims of good practice and innovation worthy of dissemination across the institution;
  • encourage improvements in the quality of education through the publication of review reports, and through the sharing of good practice.

3.2Review teams focus their enquiries onthree core themes:academic standards, quality of learning opportunities and quality management and enhancement.

  • Academic standards The use made of key stakeholders, PSRBs, higher education networks and agencies, external examiners, internal and external review, assessment strategies, management information, the Academic Infrastructure and other reference points in respect of:

- Curriculum

- Assessment

- Student Achievement

  • Quality of learning opportunities

The use made of key stakeholders, PSRBs, higher education networks and agencies, external examiners, internal and external review, learning and teaching strategies, research activity to inform learning opportunities, other modes of study (such as employer-responsive and distance learning), management information, the Academic Infrastructure and other reference points in respect of:

- Learning and Teaching

- Student Support and Guidance

- Learning Resources, including staff development and CPD

  • Quality Management and Enhancement

- The course team’s approach to the quality assurance of its HE provision and the effectiveness of this approach for the course(s) under review.

- The use made of quantitative data and qualitative feedback from students, external examiners, employers and other stakeholders in a strategy of enhancement and continuous improvement.

- The arrangements to ensure consistency in the monitoring of academic standards and the quality of the student experience, across all levels,locations and delivery modes.

3.3Both undergraduate and taught postgraduate provision are subject to CRR. The review process also includes collaborative, distance and employer-responsive provision, and other flexible modes of delivery as applicable. There is a separate process to quality assure collaborative partners (see Procedures for the Approval, Re-Approval, Extension to and Closure of Collaborative Partnerships) and the focus within CRRshould be on curriculum issues.

3.4CRRdoes not apply to research degrees (MPhil/MRes orPhD courses).

3.5Where a course is owned by one Faculty/College but delivered additionally in another, the Faculty/College that owns the course includes it within their CRRschedule. In such cases the Faculty/College that owns the course involves relevant staff and documentation from any other Faculty/College in its CRR considerations.

3.6Courses forming part of the CRR will not be required to participate in the annual monitoring process for that academic session.

Structure of theCourse Review & Revalidation

3.7The Faculty/College considers the exact nature, scope and course for the review and approval to proceed will be granted by the Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC). Normally, reviews are undertaken at Faculty/College level annually over a six-year period. However, to ensure that the process can adequately cover the range of provision within each Faculty/College, reviews may be structured in one of two ways:

• Single CRR, in which one course is reviewed, for example, BA (Hons) Chemistry;

• Aggregate reviews, in which related courses within a Faculty/College may be reviewed together within one review, for example BA (Hons) Drama and BA (Hons) Media and Performance. The largest aggregation is a Faculty/College. In this case, there is one critical review that covers all of the provision under review, one review team with specialists covering the range of courses under review and one published report.

3.8If revalidation is taking place, then the same formal process for approval of the revised course(s) apply as for the initial validation. See the Procedures for Course Validation for further information.

3.9The Templatefor the ‘Critical Review and Re-validation document’ (CRR document) is available in Appendix 1.

Schedule for the Course Review

3.10In consultation with the Quality Unit, each Faculty/College proposes its schedule for CRRto QAC at the start of each six-year cycle taking account of how Course Reviews are structured (see paragraph 3.7). The schedule indicates the scope of the CRRand specifies the academic year in which each review will take place. The scope of the review may be influenced by the size or complexity of the provision and the potential or perceived risks in which a course operates. At the commencement of each academic year, the overall schedule for the University will be presented to QAC for endorsement. Any proposed revisions to the schedule and scope of reviews within the six-year period should be submitted to QAC for approval

Key Stages of Course Review & Revalidation

3.11The key stages of CRRare set out below in Table 1.

Table 1: Course Review and Revalidation Timeline

Time +/- visit / Activity
- 6 months / Briefing meeting convened by FQM/HoAS, finalisation of the review schedule
- 3 months / CRR Panel set up by FQM/HoAS in consultation with Review Chair, Reporting Officer, Head of School (or equivalent), Course Leader and formally approved by the Chair of QAC
- 9 weeks / CRR documentand supporting documentation submitted to the Reporting Officer
- 8 weeks / Reporting Officer circulates the CRR document and supporting documentation to the CRR Panel
- 5 weeks / Reporting Officer receives each CRR Panel member’s analysis of the CRR document for their allocated section(s) and forwards this to the CRR Panel Chair
- 4 weeks / Preparatory meeting convened to finalise arrangements for the review event
- 1 week / Team assembles documentation to be made available during the review
0 weeks / Review event
+ 4 weeks / Draft report circulated to the CRR Panel for finalisation
+ 6 weeks / Final draft of the report circulated to the CRR Panel and the Faculty/College to check for factual accuracy
+ 8 weeks / Final report circulated to Faculty/CollegeHeads of Department (or equivalent)
Next scheduled meeting after publication of the final report / Action Plan compiled to include actions to be taken at Faculty/College level. Report and Action Plan submitted to F/CQAC
Next scheduled meeting after consideration by FQAC / Report and Action Plan (to include any University actions) submitted to QAC via the Quality Unit


4.1Each Faculty/College provides administrative support and a Reporting Officer to the CRRprocess via the Faculty Quality Office/Academic Services who provide support, coordination and oversight to include:

• advice, guidance and training on all aspects of the CRRprocess.

• setting up of the CRR Panel.

• confirming dates for review events with Faculties/College.

• liaising with the Heads of Department (or equivalent), Course Leader(s) and the FQM/HoAS.

• Convening a briefing meeting (see paragraph 4.2) between the Head of School (or equivalent), Course Leader(s) and FQM/HoAS

• Convening a preparatory meeting (see paragraph 4.11) between the CRR Panel Chair (who will lead this activity), Head of School (or equivalent), Course Leader(s), FQM/HoAS, serving officer and representatives of the course team(s).

• Making arrangements for the receipt of confirmed reports to the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC).

4.2A briefing meeting is convened by the Faculty Quality Office/Academic Services in the semester prior to the CRRand at least six months before the review is scheduled to take place. The FQM/HoAS leads the session that is normally attended by the Head of Department (or equivalent) and Course Leader(s). The meeting is designed to:

  • confirm the scope of the CRR;.
  • provide an overview of the CRRprocess
  • Identify a date for the Course Review and establish deadlines for submission of documentation and the preparatory meeting.
  • Provide further advice and guidance on developing the CRR document.
  • finalise the Course Review timetable including the post review activities (see paragraph 3.9 for the key stages).
  • raise awareness about the support available for teams from central departments.
  • discuss panel members and identify the person who will be acting as the Reporting Officer.

The Course Review Panel

4.3Membership of the CRRPanel is coordinated by the Faculty Quality Office/Academic Services and is subject to approval by the Chair of QAC not fewerthan three months before the date of the CRRevent. Nomination forms for CRR Panel members are provided in Appendix2. Once nominations have been confirmed, a formal invitation is sent from the Faculty/College. The range of expertise represented by the panel should be appropriate for the provision under review

4.4The panel composition should normally be:

  • Chair - a senior academic (Dean, Assistant Dean, Head of Department (or equivalent)) or other member of staff drawn from eligible QAC / FQAC/CQAC members from another Faculty/College not involved in the review.
  • Two or more external members with current or recent experience, knowledge and understanding of higher education provision. Each external member will be required to complete a comments form (Appendix 3). External panel members should have relevant subject and pedagogic expertise at the appropriate academic level. Depending on the nature of the review, it may be appropriate to engage external panel members from outside the higher education sector, for example representing further education, employers or professional interests. It is expected that external panel members have had no previous involvement with the proposed Faculty/College courses, and meet one or more of the following criteria:

- experience as a QAA Auditor, Academic Reviewer, Subject Specialist Reviewer or IQER Reviewer;

- experience as an external examiner at another institution;

- participation in professional body accreditation activity;

- distinction by way of scholarship and research within the subject.

  • At least two internal academic members of staff from another Faculty/College not associated with the design, delivery or assessment of the provision to be reviewed.
  • The Faculty Quality Manager/HoAS
  • A Student Voice Representative or a Course Representative.
  • A Reporting Officer from the Faculty/College hosting the review.
  • The Head of Quality, or nominee, has the right to attend all CRRevents.

The Critical Reviewand Re-validation Document

4.5The relevant Course Leader(s) collectively produce a CRR Document (see Appendix 1) (which incorporates the critical review and the re-validation), coordinated by the appropriate Head of School (or equivalent) and then submitted, together with supporting documentation (see paragraph 4.9) to the Reporting Officer at least nine weeks before the commencement of the review.