NQF level 5 credit discrepancy – occupational qualifications


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    • #75939
      Jenny Mamdoo
      Participant

      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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    • #75940
      Willemien Kleijn
      Participant

      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?

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    • #75941
      Willemien Kleijn
      Participant

      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?

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    • #75942
      Jenny Mamdoo
      Participant

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

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    • #75947
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      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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    • #75959
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      I absolutely love these discussions! The most significant Occupational Qualification that I have seen is the SAQA 102004: Occupational Certificate: Mechatronics Technician – NQF Level 5 with 923 Credits. Entry requirement: Level 1 mathematics.

      How long will it take a learner to complete this qualification? Asking for a friend.

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    • #75960
      Jenny Mamdoo
      Participant

      It does help, thanks Reneé.

      Really interested in the response to Lynel’s question :-).

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    • #75962
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      Hi Lynell,

      An awfully long time 🙂

      Please bear in mind that the Occupational Qualifications that are QA’d by the QCTO have a very different format to Historical qualifications.

      Occupational Qualification under the QCTO are split into Knowledge Modules, Practical Skills Modules, and Work Experience Modules. Each module has an assigned credit value, meaning it would take the average learner the credit value of each of the various sections within these modules X 10 to become competent.
      To achieve the full SAQA 102004: Occupational Certificate: Mechatronics Technician – NQF Level 5 with 923 Credits, the learner would have to complete nd be found competent in all the modules.
      To attain this qualification, the learner would progress from an NQF Level 2 all the way to an NQF Level 5, so in effect it would take a minimum of
      4 years to complete the entire qualification.

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      • #75964
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Thanks Renee, It is an awful long time to achieve a NQF Level 5 Certificate – 4 years. I doubt there will be much interest – it will be very specific, for a certain group of corporates. I have gone through the Curriculum Document and the Assessment Specification Document – still not sure why it is not loaded on the website. The combination of NQF Levels 2 – 5 into one Certificate are very interesting indeed. I noticed that immediately.

        I am very grateful that I don’t have to work through Module 1: Workplace Fundamentals (90 hours) – I would go crazy. This is definitely for a Technician that have passion for mechatronics!

        I can confirm, that this is the first time in my life, that I see a NQF Level 5 Certificate with 923 credits. In the old days, that number of credits would give you a degree!

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    • #75965
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      Hi Lynelle,

      The qualification does not have Assessment Specifications listed on the QCTO’s site as yet, but I would imagine that it is a Trade Qualification because the vertical progression is to the National N Diploma: Engineering Studies, Level 6, (ID: 67043).

      In effect, a learner can progress from an NQF Level 2 to an NQF Level 5. A learner may also apply for RPL assessment and anyone who has completed any of the components would not be required to formally redo them if Credit Accumulation and Transfer (CAT) is permissable (which it should be.)

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      • #75970
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Thanks Renee,
        I have had the Assessment Specification Document and the Curriculum Document for this specific qualification since the 2nd September 2019. RPL is an option for sure!

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    • #75966
      sylvia hammond
      Keymaster

      Hi Al
      First, I tweeted the original question from Jenny & received a response from SAQA – please contact [email protected] so the query can be forwarded to the correct Directorate.
      So Jenny please go ahead and contact SAQA & let us know the outcome.

      Second, I’ve been following the discussion raised by Lynel and the very comprehensive reply by Renee – thank you.

      It occurs to me that there are a number of assumptions if it is one qualification moving from L2 – L5.
      Apart from – as Lynel suggests, having the interest and commitment – actually I do recall working with a few technical guys, who were quite prepared to study over a long period of time like that – I don’t think that’s so much an issue.

      But I wonder in today’s world of work – that implies that there is an employer, that the employment will continue for that one person for that period, and that the employer continues to exist for that period, and that the employer even if they do continue to exist, may not outsource that technical service, or that the technology of whatever they are doing is not surpassed by some fancy 4th IR computerised technology.

      To my mind, breaking it up into part-qualifications or small qualifications would have made more practical sense. Because if anything changes, there is something to walk away with.

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      • #75972
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Spot on Sylvia! It would have been awesome to offer this into part-qualifications, whereby the learner would be able to do parts of the qualifications (perhaps per level) obtaining a statement of results of the part-qualifications, and build towards the full Qualification.

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    • #75971
      Jenny Mamdoo
      Participant

      Thanks Sylvia. I’ve emailed them and will keep you all updated.

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    • #75973
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      Hi All,

      QCTO qualifications can also be done as part qualifications, so a learner does not need to do the entire qualification to achieve the credits for the completed sub-modules. It is similar to the “unit standard” approach from that perspective.
      I am just not certain of how assessment works with the External Integrated Summative Assessment. I have actually been researching whether or not QCTO quality assured qualifications still require registered Assessors and Moderators for part qualifications as the QCTO only addresses EISA and the requirements for the accreditation of Assessment Quality Partners.
      Surely formative assessments must still take place by Assessors who are registered, perhaps with the originating SETA/QDP), and unless the AQP does summative assessments for part qualifications, the Training Provider should still have this responsibility.

      Lynell – Its great that you have the Assessment Spec document and Curriculum statement. I just didn’t find it on the website (but I must admit I didn’t look very carefully yesterday – I could well have looked in the wrong place).

      W.r.t the workplace experience modules. I have raised the very question as well. What happens in qualifications where a learner is unemployed or is in a “freelancer”. It was explained that there are various methodologies that can be employed to prove “workplace” experience.
      In the example that I used when I raised the scenario of a freelance photographer. It was explained that such a learner could gather evidence of practical/”workplace” experience. If for example part of the workplace module required evidence of experience in say group photography, the learner could arrange to do a photography session at a school or even a retirement home and the beneficiary would sign a logbook or document to say that the photography was indeed conducted by the actual learner.

      I still think that it hasn’t been as carefully considered as it should have been due to the particularly high rate of unemployment in SA. I think that the general rationale surrounding the workplace experience modules is still hinged on a learner being employed, and that the employer will be around for the duration of the learning.
      Unless there is a written policy regarding “workplace learning evidence criteria” that I haven’t yet found, I am still not certain of the rationale or requirements. If I find anything regarding this issue, I will share it with all on this platform.

      (Apologies for the long essay, but this is a field that is open to much interpretation…)

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    • #75974
      Lynel Farrell
      Keymaster

      Hi Renee,
      The Provider does not need to have registered Assessors/Moderators for the Occupational Qualification (unless specified within the qualification documents). The Assessment Quality Partner will be using registered Assessors/Moderators. The QCTO wants to see Facilitators with experience and qualifications in the occupation that they will be presenting.

      Have you ever been in a workshop where the Facilitator knows nothing about the subject whatsoever? It is frustrating for those whom have been around the block a couple of times, and have to be educated by someone that has no clue about the occupation at all. Imagine: Lynel training pilots – they might not even be able to identify the difference between a helicopter and a plane by the time I am done.

      Another scenario: sitting in a workshop where the facilitator reads the learner guide, page by page …. I lasted 2 hours in the classroom and walked out.

      Formative assessments is conducted by the SME/Facilitators – majority of your Facilitators are already Assessors/Moderators – so this should not be a problem at all for providers. The importance is the Assessment Specification Document – the Provider needs to make sure that all topics and elements are covered.

      You definitely did not look at the wrong place. The Assessment Specification Document and the Curriculum Document is not uploaded on the Mechatronics Technician Occupational Qualification. I picked this up last year, and requested the documents. The QCTO sent it to me, as I needed it urgently for a client.

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    • #75987
      Jenny Mamdoo
      Participant

      Hello everyone,

      Upon Sylvia’s recommendation, I emailed SAQA and received the following reply:

      Thank you for contacting the NQF Advisory Services.

      Credit value and the NQF level of a qualification are not directly related.

      The NQF level indicates the complexity of a qualification, whereas the credits indicate the amount of learning contained.

      For example, a Bachelor’s degree is registered at NQF level 7, and must hold a minimum of 360 credits (three year’s study). An Advanced Diploma is also registered at NQF level 7, but must, as a minimum requirement hold 120 credits (1 year study).

      An occupational qualification which holds 150 credit implies that 1 year is most probably spent on foundational aspects of the occupation. Qualifications which hold 455 credits elaborate on the information, and as part of the qualification, could contain the trade test or practical aspect.

      A very basic example could be how to back a cake. A 150 credit qualification could refer to the ingredients and utensils used, the various methods applied, and the scientific processes that occur during the cooking process.

      A 455 credit qualification could refer to the above, but also include the difference between a chocolate and fruit cake (ingredients), cupcakes and muffins (cake tins), various icing flavours and other toppings. It would also require a practical component that assesses the learner completing the actual process from reading the recipe, measuring the ingredients, and baking the cake.

      Thank you Reneé – it seems that your explanation was spot on.

      Thank you everyone for your feedback.

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      • #75991
        Lynel Farrell
        Keymaster

        Fantastic work Jenny! I must say that the 150 Credits = 1 Year in an occupational qualification is very interesting, and well noted.

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    • #75988
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      Hi All,

      Thank you for confirming it Jenny. I prefer to hear it directly from the horses mouth so to speak so I’m very pleased they have confirmed what I understood. 🙂
      I love this forum! It helps us to share knowledge and understanding.

      Thank you for a great job with the site Sylvia!

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    • #75990
      Jenny Mamdoo
      Participant

      I agree Reneé.

      Thanks Sylvia – I’m loving the knowledge sharing on this site :-). Skills Universe has become my go-to place.

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    • #75992
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      Hi Lynel,

      Thank you so much for confirming the QCTO status quo for Assessors and Moderators for me. You’ve saved me a tremendous amount of research time!

      My advise to my clients is to always employ / use the services of Facilitators who have subject matter knowledge and experience and preferably a passion for the topic. They make the best Facilitators by far!
      One can be taught the tools and methodologies in outcomes-based facilitation in a few days, but one takes years and often a lifetime to develop the knowledge and skills in an occupation.

      We have so many unemployed seniors in our country who would love nothing more than to be active and give back by sharing their knowledge in SA.

      I say that we should give our senior citizens the opportunity to make invaluable contributions to our working force and youth by sharing their knowledge through Facilitation and by assessing learner competence in Assessment and Moderation. Who better to upskill our current and future generations than our forefathers!

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    • #75994
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      If one considers that 150 hours is equivalent to 1500 notional hours for a year.
      The average number of working days in a year is 260 (considering public holidays), the average number of working hours in a day is 8, which equates to 2080 working hours per annum. If one takes off the equivalent of 3 weeks holiday per annum (or 120 hours) then spend 1960 hours working.
      A full time learner or learner on a learnership or doing a trade should easily be able to achieve 196 credits in a year.
      The Occupational Certificate: Mechatronics Technician – NQF Level 5 with 923 Credits is achievable within 5 years (should a learner wish to do the entire qualification from NQF level 2 to 5). Many studying this field would most likely already have the fundamentals at an NQF level 3 or 4 even, and would not need to repeat them)

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    • #76068
      Percy Manuel
      Participant

      Dear Ladies
      You have made the month of August fantastic.
      The information sharing was great and very supportive to Skills Development Facilitators who must assist Employers with skills development and retaining those skills in our changing working environment.
      Thank you for making the equiries and obtaining the answers.

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    • #76069
      Renee’ McGibbon
      Participant

      Hi All,

      Awesome discussion!

      It is critical to not that the NQF Level assigned to a qualification or part qualification has absolutely nothin to do with the credit value of a qualification.
      The NQF level assigned refers only to the degree of complexity of the learning itself, not the length of time it will take for a learner to be deemed competent in the learning.

      An Occupational Qualification of 455 credits will state NQF Level that a learner will reach on completion the qualification.

      Our very own Mr. Des Squire posted a wonderful explanation of the NQF Levels and how these relate to the Occupational Qualifications Framework
      on the Skills Portal website in March 2009.

      Des – I hope you don’t mind, I am posting a link to your article for others to gain insight to our somewhat complicated education system.

      https://www.skillsportal.co.za/content/what-occupational-qualifications-framework

      Warmest regards

      Renee’

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    • #76218
      Alcon Dube APR
      Participant

      This skipped me. Wonderful team keep up the good work colleagues and many thanks to our dear Sylvia for the platform.

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