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ERIC Number: EJ933332
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 20
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-1363-9080
Are "Communications Frameworks" More Successful? Policy Learning from the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework
Raffe, David
Journal of Education and Work, v24 n3-4 p283-302 2011
The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) was formally launched in 2001. It is a comprehensive credit-based National Qualifications Framework (NQF) with twelve levels, intended to accommodate all qualifications and assessed learning in Scotland. It aims to support access to learning and to make the education and training system more transparent. It is a voluntary framework, led by a partnership of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), higher education (HE), colleges and the Scottish government. Qualifications in the framework must be credit-rated, which means that each unit must be described in terms of a volume of learning (credit) at a given level of the framework. This in turn requires that units and qualifications are expressed in terms of learning outcomes, but the framework does not impose a specific concept of outcome or competence. The SCQF has a "loose" design, but it embraces sub-frameworks which are more tightly specified. These features have led the SCQF to be seen as a communications framework: one whose immediate purpose is to describe the existing qualifications system and thereby make it more transparent, as compared with a transformational framework which prescribes a proposed future system and imposes changes to introduce it. The SCQF is widely perceived as a relatively successful NQF. It is one of the most developed comprehensive frameworks within Europe. And it emerged as the "most successful" of the 16 national frameworks recently studied by the ILO. As a result the SCQF has assumed an almost moral authority among NQFs and become a source of lessons to others. And these lessons attribute its relative success to its nature as a communications framework. This article addresses two questions: (1) how successful has the SCQF really been?; and (2) can its "success" be attributed to its character as a communications framework? It revisits the celebratory account and compares it with an alternative, "sceptical account" which draws attention to the SCQF's long pre-history and the role of earlier sub-frameworks in laying its foundations. The article is thus an exercise in the "science" of cross-national policy learning, which aims to identify valid policy lessons from other countries' experience. This is distinguished from the "sociology" of policy learning, which examines the learning that actually occurs and the cross-national influences on policy behaviour. Both types of policy learning are, of course, relevant to NQFs. (Contains 2 figures.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Scotland)