NQF level 5 credit discrepancy – occupational qualifications

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    Jenny Mamdoo

    NOTE for Attention all skills-universe members:
    This discussion started by Jenny Mamdoo is extremely important for all members. It contains written advice from the NQF Advisory Service of SAQA, and also knowledgeable commentary by experienced members Jenny Mamdoo, Renee’ McGibbon, Lynel Farrell, and Willemien Kleijn.
    Reading and thinking through the content and implications of the discussion is probably equal to a one-day seminar on the subject.
    Therefore, I have shared the discussion and tagged it to remain at the top of the discussions in this Discussion Group.

    The OQSF Policy states:

    “28.The OQSF recognises credits as a measure of the volume of learning required for an occupational qualification. In the occupational domain, credits are quantified as the number of notional study and work hours required for achieving the occupational qualification, and not in terms of academic years of study. The credit rating of an occupational qualification is independent of the mode of delivery of learning. The attainment of credits is demonstrated through appropriate assessment.
    29. The volume of learning required for an occupational qualification can be specified in terms of the total minimum number of credits required. In
    general, the minimum number of credits at the exit level of a trade and
    occupational qualification is 120. Qualifications carrying a lower credit value are however accepted.”

    Whilst I understand what they are saying about occupational qualifications not being measured in terms of academic years of study – I am trying to understand why do some NQF 5 occupational qualifications require only 150 credits (1 year) and while others require up to 455 credits (3 years). Considering the time spent on the qualification, should the higher credits not equal a higher NQF level? As much as the QCTO qualifications are occupationally driven, should we not measure apples with apples?

    Does anyone understand the rationale around this?

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    Willemien Kleijn

    Excellent question! I’ve been wondering about that myself. The way I see it, the NQF level of a qualification is its exit level. So if a qualification has enough credits for multiple years, then either its entrance requirements should drop or its NQF (exit) level should increase.

    I teach a legacy qualification that has 240 credits, NQF level 4 as entrance requirement and is a NQF level 5 itself. It still needs to be aligned and I believe that when it is, it should be changed to NQF level 6.

    Can anyone clarify this?

    Willemien Kleijn

    Just an extra note: CHE does have rules about the length of a qualification at a particular NQF level. At NQF level 5 they only allow a one-year qualification, while at level 6 that is 2-years max, level 7 3-years max etc. I really don’t understand why QCTO doesn’t have such rules?

    Jenny Mamdoo

    Thank you, Willemien, I have seen the CHE rules too. I have written to the QCTO – I will share their response when they respond.

    Renee’ McGibbon

    Hi All,

    The NQF Level denotes the degree of complexity of the particular qualification. It is very different and has no bearing on the credit value of a qualification. The credit value related to the number of hours it would take an average learner to reach the required level of competency, where 1 credit = 10 notional hours of learning.
    In outcomes-based education, the learners level of competency is further split into cognitive knowledge (theory), psychomotor activities/skills (practical activities), and reflexive skills required for a learner to be deemed competent.
    The rule of thumb for the average total number of hours of learning required to reach an acceptable level of competence in OBE is 30% theory, 70% practical and reflexive.

    Hope this helps.

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