Quality Assurance

The QIE Office coordinates all quality assurance, improvement and monitoring processes within NCI to ensure compliance with national (QQI) and European quality assurance standards, requirements and guidelines.

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There are three types of Designated Awarding Body (DAB) in the Irish Higher Education (HE) Sector that are permitted by the Quality and Qualifications Education and Training Act (2012) and its Amendment (2019) to make awards at Levels 6-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ):

  • Qualities and Qualifications Ireland (QQI)
  • Universities (including Independent Universities, those that comprise National University of Ireland and Technological Universities); and
  • Institutes of Technology (IoTs)

QQI is unique amongst DABs as it is both an awarding body and a regulatory body, with the authority to award degrees and the statutory responsibility to promote quality and accountability in education and training at all levels throughout Ireland. 

Institutional Quality

NCI, as a HE provider that does not have degree awarding powers, is affiliated with QQI, who allow us to develop and deliver QQI validated programmes and manage our own quality assurance policies and procedures but these must be approved by QQI before implementation to determine compliance with statutory guidelines. 

NCI engages with the following institutional level processes with QQI to be able to develop and deliver QQI validated programmes:

  • QQI Re-Engagement: Assesses NCI's QA alignment with QQI - baseline mapping
  • Annual Quality Reports (AQR): includes monitoring of Re-Engagement Action Plan
  • Annual Dialogue Meetings: discussion of AQR and institutional effectiveness
  • QQI Cyclical Review CINNTE: Institutional Effectiveness: robustness and transparency in decision-making, consistency and compliance.

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QQI Re-Engagement

NCI successfully completed the QQI Re-Engagement Process in 2018/2019. This process resulted in NCI also successfully securing Devolved Responsibility Status from QQI for some activities.

QQI Re-Engagement Review Report

QQI Re-Engagement Action Plan

Annual Quality Report to QQI

Following successful re-engagement, NCI submitted its first Annual Quality Report to QQI in February 2021 spanning activities completed within the Sept 2019 – August 2020 reporting period.

AQR 2021 NCI Submission

QQI AQR Process

Annual Dialogue Meeting

NCI’s first Annual Dialogue Meeting with QQI will be held in July 2021.

QQI Process

CINNTE

NCI is anticipated to participate in its first Cyclical Institutional in 2023-2024. Further details will follow when confirmed by QQI.

Current QQI process

Key External Reference Documents

Programme Quality

All programmes at NCI undergo continuous quality improvement following initial approval – validation - by our Awarding Body – Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI).

Annually, each programme team considers what adjustments can be made to the programme in response to the views of colleagues internally and externally, feedback from learners and graduates, and an analysis of student performance data. 

This is undertaken to ensure the ongoing relevance, currency and quality of the programme content, teaching, learning and assessment practices. While small changes are made regularly to our programmes in response, the only way to make significant changes to a programme is through a formal re-validation process. 

This can be triggered at any point by the programme team if there are major changes required. However, as part of our QAES and requirements from QQI, we have to revalidate each programme after five years of being delivered.

Programme Lifecycle Management (PLM)

In 2021 NCI reviewed and refreshed its programme lifecycle management structure. This builds on the existing longstanding structures, as outlined in Chapter 3 of the QAES.

The refresh process will continue throughout 2021 with a view to enhancing the visibility and consistency of short and long-term decisions made on the approval of programmes for validation and revalidation in line with NCI’s mission, vision and strategies as well as evidence of programme demand, quality, viability and sustainability.

  • Stage 1: Programme Design & Development
  • Stage 2: Programme Validation/Revalidation
  • Stage 3: Programme Delivery
  • Stage 4: Programme Monitoring & Review

Programme Lifecycle Management (PLM) Executive Sub-Group Terms of Reference and Membership

Programme Validation and Revalidation

NCI’s process and procedures for the validation of new programmes are presented in Chapter 3 of the QAES

Additionally the following documents will be helpful for stakeholders that are invited to participate on NCI organised validation panels:

Recently Revalidated Programmes

Annual Programme Evaluation Reports (APERS)

NCI’s process for annual programme monitoring is outlined in Chapter 3 of the QAES

The annual monitoring process is currently under review and new templates will be launched in Autumn 2021.

All programmes at NCI undergo continuous quality improvement following initial approval – validation - by our Awarding Body – Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI). Annually – through the Annual Monitoring Process (currently being refreshed) each programme team considers what adjustments can be made to the programme in response to the views of colleagues internally and externally, feedback from industry, learners and graduates, and an analysis of student performance data. This is undertaken to ensure the ongoing relevance, currency and quality of the programme content, teaching, learning and assessment practices. While small changes are made annually to our programmes in response, the only way to make significant changes to a programme is through a formal re-validation process. This can be triggered at any point by the programme team if there are major changes required. However, as part of our QQI validation, we have to revalidate each programme after five years of delivery.

Data involved in Annual Programme Monitoring Process (APERS):