How will learners record and present achievement in the future?


How will you record and present achievement in the future?

In 2017 the 100 millionth Europass CV was produced. It has proven to be popular and successful with a 2016 survey of Europass CV users reporting that 85% of respondents rated it as Good or Excellent. But Europass isn’t resting on its laurels.

Evolution of learning

Learning has changed enormously in the last decade, and is expected to change further, with an increase in online learning. We are increasingly hearing about learning becoming more ‘granular’ and bespoke. New ways of recording achievement are needed to reflect changes in learning, but also to counter fraud, and adapt to digital technologies and social media.

Evolution of recruitment

Recruitment is increasingly moving online, particularly through the use of social professional networks. Paper CVs are becoming less relevant, and online application forms or electronic CVs are now the norm. People are increasingly using smartphones or tablets for job-seeking.

What might the future look like?

It is difficult to tell. No one technology seems to pervade, and technology moves forward rapidly.  Professional social networks like LinkedIn seem to be having a period of success while so far ePortfolios seem to have failed to become mainstream.

In 2016, the UK National Europass Centre (UK NEC) wrote a paper entitled Europass 2020: A vision for meeting the current and future needs of modern European citizens in recording and promoting skills, qualifications and experience. This set out a vision of an online environment where individuals could store and share information relating to their study and work experience. This environment would also include an ‘issuing environment’” where the individual’s information could be verified  –for example through the use of digital credentials.

Please contribute to the new Europass

The UK NEC and other European centres are exploring a number of technologies to develop  a concept of what Europass might look like and how it might benefit UK and European citizens, as well as employers and other stakeholders. These include:

  • ePortfolios – an online space where electronic evidence is assembled, managed and can be shared with third parties.
  • Open Badges – visual tokens of achievement, issued by and traceable to a third party, which can be shared and used online.
  • Blockchain credentials – a way of issuing qualifications or blocks of learning (including Open Badges) which are traceable and verifiable by anchoring them to a Blockchain which attempts to eradicate the potential for fraud.
  • Digital Diploma Registers – online repositories of digital documents that are protected with digital signatures and other digital security measures. Often accessed online by invitation of the holder.

We invite you to contribute to the development of the new Europass. Please comment below with your thoughts on:

  • What sort of employability information do you think students should be encouraged to collect and share?
  • Where you think there are gaps in the information individuals are able to record?
  • What information do employers find difficult to gather when recruiting?
  • Are there any technologies that might be considered when modernising Europass?
  • Do you think there is a need for modernisation of the existing Europass Portfolio, or for Europass at all?

An update on the latest UK Home Office immigration rules and guidance, effective from 6 April 2017


On 6 April 2017 the latest changes to the UK’s immigration system came into effect.

Key changes include:

  • The introduction of a skills levy for Tier 2 Sponsors
  • The expansion of criminal record checks for certain job roles
  • Failure of basic compliance assessment is now a serious breach of sponsor compliance for Tier 4 sponsors
  • UK NARIC statements can be used to demonstrate English language proficiency at the appropriate level rather than at just C1

Skills levy

This will be levied on employers who employ migrants in skilled jobs. Set at £1,000 per employee per year, with a reduced rate of £364 for small or charitable organisations.

Criminal records checks

A criminal record certificate requirement has been extended to Tier 2 skilled worker applicants in the education, health and social care sectors.

Tier 2 applicants from non-EEA countries in these employment sectors now need to present a criminal record certificate. This is also the case for any adult dependants of the applicant.

A list of the job roles that are subject to this requirement can be found in the Tier 2 section of the UKVI website.

Failure of basic compliance assessment is now a serious breach

Tier 4 sponsors should be aware that failing their basic compliance assessment is now considered a ‘serious breach’.

A serious breach can lead to a ‘Compliance Track 2’ process which, in the majority of cases, will mean that the sponsor will be removed from the Tier 4 Register of Sponsors whilst UKVI investigates.

It is therefore imperative that Tier 4 sponsors ensure that they make fully informed decisions, with thorough record-keeping, about their international applicants for study.

A range of UK NARIC services for organisations is available to help universities, colleges and schools understand more about international education systems and international qualifications.

UK NARIC also offers training to support Tier 4 sponsors.

More information about Tier 4 and information for Tier 4 sponsors is available on the UKVI website.

UK NARIC statements for English language

Presenting their qualifications that are at least comparable to UK Bachelor level (with UK NARIC statements evidencing the comparability) has been one of the ways in which migrants to the UK can demonstrate their English language proficiency.

The 6 April 2017 changes to the immigration rules have extended the use of UK NARIC statements to all CEFR levels. Previously, UK NARIC statements could be used to demonstrate only CEFR level C1.

This means that UK NARIC statements can now be used to demonstrate the appropriate level of English language skills to support applications to UKVI for – work; study; family; settlement; citizenship; and naturalisation.

There is more information about using UK NARIC English language statements for immigration purposes on other pages of this blog.


“Comparable to British Bachelor degree standard”: what does this comparison statement mean?


Some UK NARIC evaluations state that an award can be “considered comparable to British Bachelor degree standard”.

This might appear in UK NARIC statements of comparability issued to individuals, or in our qualification databases used by educational institutions and employers.

Some of our users are unclear about how to treat this evaluation – is it Bachelor Hons, Bachelor Ordinary, or a more general statement?

To get to the crux of the matter first – this comparability is in relation to degree-level qualifications from a national education system as a whole. The comparability is made to ‘British Bachelor standard’ because it is not possible to make a comparison to Ordinary or Honours standard for all degree qualifications from that system across the board.

Therefore, when it comes to assessing the qualifications held by an individual – for example, if you are an admissions officer looking at an application for entry – then in these cases, you will need to delve into more detail on what the applicant has studied, before deciding if the individual’s degree is closer to Ordinary or Honours standard. For example, you will probably have to examine an individual transcript, and perhaps look at how much independent study has been done, and whether a dissertation has been completed.

To give wider context, it’s worth considering the relatively specialised character of upper secondary studies in the British school system. Pupils typically narrow their focus to three or four subjects aged 16 (or perhaps five in Scotland). These relatively tightly focused qualifications can be used for entry into Bachelor degrees which are usually fairly specialised from the outset.

In contrast, many international school pupils continue to study in excess of 10 subjects right through to the end of upper secondary.

This UK upper secondary approach feeds through to the first year or two of UK Bachelor courses, with Honours programmes normally characterised by more independent research and a dissertation in the final year.

In some countries, the huge number of autonomous institutions, and differences in quality assurance structures, mean that standards and course content can vary considerably.

While some programmes require a high level of specialisation and independent research, others are more general and include a high proportion of taught content. Courses in the first category could be considered comparable to a British Honours degree: those in the second category, probably not. Yet all graduates from that national system would potentially be awarded the same qualification title.

It is in these situations that UK NARIC cannot guarantee that all degree qualifications from that country will be Honours standard across the board. Some may be, however. So a more nuanced judgement has to be made in individual cases, depending on an analysis of the transcript and other factors such as the presence or absence of a dissertation.

There is one other type of situation which leads to a British Bachelor standard comparability statement. It lies in those national education systems, typically in countries with close historical ties to the UK, which have retained a clear distinction between the Ordinary and Honours degrees, but where the Ordinary degree is by far the more common.

In these cases, learning outcomes of Ordinary degree programmes can be comparable to British Honours level. However, with these national systems, it is hard to justify a UK Honours comparability for Ordinary degrees, because of the existence of the higher Honours award in-country.

Again, in individual cases, transcripts would have to be examined, and a view taken on the particular course undertaken by the applicant, to decide if it is closer to Ordinary or Honours level.

In all of the above situations, the key point is that the British Bachelor standard comparability relates to the national education system rather than an individual qualification or individual person holding that qualification.

Ultimately, for these national systems, it would be misleading to provide a general Honours level comparability statement when that standard cannot be universally guaranteed across all that country’s degree courses.

In individual cases, a British Bachelor standard comparability should not be regarded as saying that an individual’s degree from that country is below UK Honours comparability. And it should not necessarily exclude an individual from being considered for UK postgraduate study.

 

If your organisation is a member of UK NARIC, then you might be able to use our Member Enquiry service if you are having trouble evaluating a particular qualification. For more information on this, UK NARIC members can contact their Account Manager.


Jump in traffic to UK NARIC’s Visas & Nationality service following Brexit vote


Following the ‘Brexit’ result in the EU referendum, there has been an increase of over 60% in web traffic to UK NARIC’s Visas & Nationality service.

The Visas & Nationality service supports applications through the points based system of immigration and for migrants wishing to settle in the UK. 

In the week following the vote, numbers of visitors to the Visas & Nationality web pages leapt to over 1.6 times the pre-referendum average. 

UK-based visitors to the V&N web pages doubled. Migrants who are already living in the UK can apply for extensions to their current visa, or apply for settlement, citizenship or naturalisation. Visitor numbers from other EU countries were up over a third. 

This could reflect some of the uncertainties on EU mobility and free movement post-referendum, and may mean we can expect applications from EU citizens seeking to settle in the UK.  

We will soon see if web traffic and interest translates into actual applications. 

So far, since the launch of the Visas & Nationality service on 6 April (it replaces the old online Points Based Calculator), only 4% of applications for purposes of settlement, citizenship and naturalisation have come from nationals of other EU countries. If any changes in this pattern do emerge, it should be immediately noticeable.

 

 

 


UK NARIC and English language for immigration purposes


English LanguageUnder the immigration rules, there are five ways to prove that you meet the English language proficiency requirements:

  • being a citizen of a majority English language speaking country
  • having passed a Secure English Language Test (SELT) at the appropriate level
  • having an academic qualification that was taught in English and is recognised by UK NARIC as being equivalent to a UK Bachelor’s degree, Masters degree or PhD
  • having met the requirement in a previous grant of leave
  • or special arrangements during a transition period.

In order to satisfy the third of these requirements there are two aspects that UK NARIC has to look at:

  • is the qualification at least Bachelor level?
  • was it taught in English?

For immigration purposes the first part is relatively easy for UK NARIC to determine; all you need to send are copies of your degree certificate, transcript and diploma supplement (and translations of these documents, if they are not in English). This will enable us to do a comparison of your qualification.

The second aspect is slightly more complex. If the qualification was studied in a majority English language speaking country, then all that is required is confirmation of the level of the qualification. A normal UK NARIC qualification comparison, based on the documents above, will be fine.

If the qualification was studied elsewhere then a Medium of Instruction letter from the awarding institution needs to be sent. This confirms that the qualification was taught (or researched) in English.

 

What do I need to send?

When you apply to UK NARIC through the Visas and Nationality application portal you will be told what documents you need to send to us so that we are able to assess and evaluate your qualification.

Here is a list of what you need to send:

  • a photocopy or scanned version of your final certificate(s)
  • a photocopy or scanned version of your final transcript(s)
  • a photocopy or scanned version of a certified translation in English if necessary
  • payment for the service

If you are using our services to provide evidence of your English language proficiency, then we will ALSO need:

  • evidence of the medium of instruction to confirm that the qualification was taught or researched in English. In other words, a Medium of Instruction letter (an MOI letter).

We have an example on our website (PDF) for your reference.

 

Do I always need to send a medium of instruction letter?

The approach we have taken with our new UK NARIC Visas and Nationality service is to have an intelligent immigration-specific application portal which takes into account your circumstances and your immigration application route and then makes clear the documents you need to send us, to enable us to then issue qualification statements or English language statements as appropriate.

If the Medium of Instruction is a relevant issue, then we always ask for an MoI letter.

This ensures consistency within the process, and helps ensure its integrity, and treats all applicants in the same manner, thus it is fair.

If the logic behind the application portal detects that MoI is not relevant to an application, then it is not asked for. The application portal lists the documents that you need to upload, during the application process. MoI will be listed if it is required. MoI is not listed if it is not required.

So the position on MoI should be clear, when you apply.

 

 

If you want to check the official immigration rules, then the Home Office website is the place to go.

 

 

 


UK NARIC’s Visas and Nationality Service launches on 6 April


Arrivals

In early March 2016, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) section of the Home Office announced that the online Points Based System (PBS) Calculator was being turned off on 5 April 2016.

The online calculator enabled immigration applicants to self-assess their qualifications and English language level, and print out the calculator results, in advance of submitting their application to UKVI.

From 6 April onwards, those wishing to use qualifications to satisfy the immigration attribute requirements and/or English language proficiency requirements will no longer be able to use print-outs from the PBS calculator to support their applications. They will need to apply to UK NARIC VisasAndNationality (www.naric.org.uk/VisasAndNationality).

UK NARIC VisasAndNationality is the new designated service supporting individuals applying for UK visas or for settlement in the UK, provided on behalf of the Home Office.

A new online application system has been specifically developed and will provide official UK NARIC VisasAndNationality statements, custom-designed for immigration purposes. These statements confirm your academic qualification level and/or English language proficiency – as appropriate for your personal circumstances and immigration route. The new security-enhanced statements present clearly all the key information required by Home Office UKVI immigration case workers.

How will the new service work?

The new VisasAndNationality web application process asks you all the relevant questions and keeps you on the right route to help ensure you get the correct paperwork to support your immigration application. Online messaging allows you to contact the dedicated VisasAndNationality help team at any stage in your application.

Which immigration routes will the new service support?

The VisasAndNationality service supports applications made through the following PBS routes: 

  • Tier 1 Entrepreneur
  • Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur
  • Tier 2 General
  • Tier 2 Ministry of Religion
  • Tier 2 Sportsperson
  • Representative of an Overseas Business visa

The service also supports family, settlement and citizenship/nationality applications.

Other visa routes do not require UK NARIC VisasAndNationality documentation as supporting evidence.  Please visit the UK Visa & Immigration website to check the particular requirements for each of the immigration routes.

If you have questions about the Immigration Rules or about your particular circumstances in relation to them, you should contact UKVI direct.

How quick will the service be?

The VisasAndNationality service offers a faster 10 day turnround time – quicker than current UK NARIC statement services which work to 15 day timeframes.

A range of delivery options are available, including next working day and, for international deliveries, fast and secure courier by DHL (delivery is charged extra, according to the option you choose).

How much will it cost?

To streamline the service and to make it as simple and efficient as possible, we offer a simple one price structure – you pay one price for your application and for your use of the service – the price is the same regardless of the number and type of statements produced. You pay per service use, not per statement.

You can submit multiple qualifications at the time of application. Again, you pay per application, not per qualification.

The price for an individual application is £125 + VAT.

For immigration advisers, solicitors and other organisations looking to process multiple applications, we offer a corporate bundle service.

How do I apply and what do I need to send?

You need to register and complete your application online.

You can also apply by post. We will need paper photocopies (not originals) of all your documents (detailed below) and a letter giving your contact details and the purpose of your enquiry.

If you apply online, you can upload scanned files. If you apply by post, send photocopies. Do NOT send original certificates or documents.

We need the following from you:

  • A photocopy or scanned version of your certificate(s) together with final transcript(s) in the original language
  • A photocopy or scanned version of a certified translation in English
  • Evidence of the medium of instruction of your degree (in the form of an official letter from the university or institution) OR a photocopy or scanned version of your English test certificate(s).

Where can I get more information?

UK NARIC is not able to help with questions about migration to the UK; please contact UK Visas & Immigration (part of the Home Office) to find out more about the UK’s immigration system; you can contact UKVI direct.

For more information about UK NARIC’s VisasAndNationality service please visit the website www.naric.org.uk/VisasAndNationality or email visas@naric.org.uk


Benchmarking the Advanced Programme: English


This article was first published on the ECCTIS Blog

The Independent Examinations Board in South Africa has recently added the Advanced Programme: English to their suite of qualifications.  The IEB conducted a pilot study of the AP: English in 2011, with the national roll-out being launched in 2012.  The AP: English is a new qualification offered by the IEB in addition to the National Senior Certificate, intended to provide the opportunity for students to study English in further depth and increase the number of students following programmes including English at tertiary level.  It followed the launch of the then newly developed National Senior Certificate and AP: Mathematics in 2010.

Following the benchmarking study undertaken in 2010, which examined the NSC and AP: Mathematics, this study sought to benchmark the AP: English against UK qualifications.  It confirmed that the AP: English can be considered comparable to GCE Advanced level standard.

Exemplar GCE A level programmes were used to assist with the benchmarking study.  The majority of the core components of the GCE A level programmes were also covered by the AP: English, although some differences were observed in the entry requirements and the content of the programmes.  However, these differences were deemed to be due to cultural differences between the two systems rather than an indication of disparities in academic level.  There were clear links between assessment standards and objectives, as well as the depth and breadth of the programmes in providing the skills required for tertiary study. This resulted in the following comparable level:

Independent Examinations Board Programme Comparability
Advanced Programme English Is considered comparable to GCE A level standard

Further information on the IEB AP: English can be found on the IEB website.  For information on the project work undertaken, please contact mailto:projects@naric.org.uk.