Influence of National Qualifications Frameworks in conceptualising feedback to students

Heron, Gavin and Green Lister, Pam (2014) Influence of National Qualifications Frameworks in conceptualising feedback to students. Journal of Social Work, 33 (4). pp. 420-434. ISSN 1468-0173

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Abstract

Social work students in Britain receive feedback on a range of academic and practice issues as they progress through qualifying courses, however the way in which feedback differs to reflect the increasing complexity of learning as the course progresses is unclear. There is little, if any, guidance at a national level and the most widely known documents that provide information about the hierarchy of qualifications are the National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs). Despite the widespread acceptance of NQFs there is little evidence supporting their use in professional areas such as social work. This study uses a documentary analysis to critique the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). The findings suggest that there are fundamental difficulties with the SCQF and its value in helping academics to better conceptualise feedback that reflects the increasing complexity of learning throughout the social work qualifying course. Whilst the SCQF is specific to a Scottish context, it is suggested that the inherent limitations and dominance of a neo-liberal ideology are common to other NQFs. It may be necessary to create the conditions where academics and students are able to discuss and debate the merits of NQFs and their implementation in social work qualifying courses.