The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is Scotland’s national qualifications framework.
SCQF Credit Points
Credit points are a way of showing how much time it takes, on average, to complete a qualification or learning programme. Along with the Level Descriptors, they allow learners, learning providers and employers to compare different qualifications at the same or even different levels.
In common with other credit systems, the SCQF works on the basis that one credit point represents the amount of learning achieved through a notional 10 hours of learning time which includes everything a learner has to do to achieve the outcomes in a qualification including the assessment procedures.
The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework has 12 levels. The different levels indicate the level of difficulty of a particular qualification. The SCQF Level Descriptors outline the general outcomes of learning at SCQF levels under five broad headings:
• knowledge and understanding (mainly subject based);
• practice (applied knowledge and understanding);
• generic cognitive skills (e.g. evaluation, critical analysis);
• communication, numeracy and IT skills; and
• autonomy, accountability and working with others.
The Descriptors allow broad comparisons to be made between qualifications and learning and allow learners, employers and the public in general to understand the range of skills and learning that should be achieved at each level.
The European Qualifications Framework (EQF) acts as a translation device to make national qualifications more readable across Europe, promoting workers’ and learners’ mobility between countries and facilitating their lifelong learning. The EQF aims to relate different countries’ national qualifications systems to a common European reference framework. Individuals and employers will be able to use the EQF to better understand and compare the qualifications levels of different countries and different education and training systems. Since 2012, all new qualifications issued in Europe (including IQN qualifications) carry a reference to an appropriate EQF level.
The core of the EQF concerns eight reference levels describing what a learner knows, understands and is able to do – ‘learning outcomes’. Levels of national qualifications are placed at one of the central reference levels, ranging from basic (Level 1) to advanced (Level 8). This enables a much easier comparison between national qualifications (such as IQN diploma) and should also mean that people do not have to repeat their learning if they move to another country.