Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)
What is the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF)?
The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) is the national credit transfer system in Scotland. It covers all levels of qualifications in Scotland including vocational and higher education qualifications.
What Does the SCQF Reveal?
The SCQF was designed to help the learners, their family, learning providers and employers to understand different qualifications in Scotland and how they relate to each other. Scotland has many different qualifications ranging from Standard Grades to Highers and Higher National Certificate/Degree to different higher education qualifications. The SCQF divides them into levels which make it easier for the learners, employers and general public to understand the range of Scottish qualifications and making them broadly comparable. For example, Scottish Vocational Qualification Level 4 roughly equals Higher National Diploma, Diploma of Higher Education and Bachelor’s Degree although different qualifications within the same level may vary in difficulty and take different amount of time to complete.
How Does the SCQF Work?
The SCQF works similar as the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), the credit transfer system in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Just like the QCF, the SCQF is based on awarding credit points for completion of units. Each unit and qualification has a credit value, while one credit point represents about 10 hours of learning. The SCQF foresees three types of qualifications on the basis of accumulated points – award (1-12 credit points), certificate (13-36 credit points) and degree (37 or more credit points). It also allows credit transfer, however, if and how many credits can be transferred is decided by individual education institutions. In contrary to levels which indicate the difficulty of qualification, credit points reveal its size or the amount of time and learning required to complete the qualification programme.
How Does the SCQF Differ from the QCF?
The SCQF and QFC are very similar but not exactly the same. The most noticeable difference is that the QCF has 8 levels (plus the Entry Level), while the SCQF has 12 levels which can make a comparison between both frameworks confusing at a first glance. In addition, the titles of qualifications are also slightly different. However, if we know that Doctoral Degree is Level 12 in the SCQF and Level 8 in the QCF, it is quite easy to determine equivalent qualifications in the two frameworks.
Who Regulates Qualifications in Scotland?
Scotland’s qualifications are regulated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the national accreditation and awarding body which is responsible for accreditation of all qualifications with the exception of degrees.