Monitoring Update: May 2018

Monitoring Update: May 2018

Last updated 31 May 2018
Last updated 31 May 2018

This issue includes clarification of our expectations around learning hours, qualification and Unit Standard reporting issues, what’s covered as part of the Fees Free initiative, and details on our equity funding survey.

This is the second of the TEC’s regular monitoring updates. We gather a range of information about common issues through our monitoring activities. At the TEC, we’re committed to partnering with providers, and sharing learnings from our monitoring work to help the sector build capability so we can all achieve better outcomes for learners.

How to report learning hours in STEO

As of January 2018 all new programmes submitted for approval and accreditation to NZQA use the following new definition of learning hours: “All planned learning activities leading towards the achievement of programme or qualification learning outcomes.” The updated definition means TEOs need to provide details to learners of all learning activities in the programme, and retain evidence of these activities.

The Services for Tertiary Education Organisations (STEO) website provides three fields for types of learning activities: teaching hours, work experience hours and self-directed study hours. We acknowledge that headings of these three fields is a limitation in light of the various learning activities that TEOs employ with students. However, please do continue to break down the different learning activities and enter hours into the relevant STEO field as accurately as possible according to the guidance below:

  • Teaching hours – including face-to-face classroom time, online, field trip, simulation time, tutorials, onsite assignments, assessments and examinations.
  • Work experience hours – including time the student spends practising or learning skills relevant to their study programme in a workplace. This includes a teaching workplace, which may be onsite, as long as it operates as a commercial enterprise.
  • Self-directed study hours – ‘self-directed study’ means only facilitated TEO study carried out by the student. For example, time the student spends on offsite assignments (such as homework assignments), and TEO-directed reading and study hours, that the student must complete in their own time. Note: self-directed study does not include self-directed activities that the student initiates.

Total learning hours in STEO must be the same as the total programme/qualification learning hours approved by NZQA. The actual delivery should align with the total learning hours and the learning activities approved by NZQA. This means TEOs need to regularly review the delivery of their programmes to ensure they are ‘right-sized’ for the majority of students (recognising that some students take more or fewer learning hours to achieve a qualification than others).

During an audit or investigation we may check whether your delivery reflects our and NZQA’s approvals. To do this we triangulate NZQA approval documentation, your STEO information, and your information for learners, and compare this information to actual delivery. We may also check that you have a record of the rationale you use to assign each learning activity to one of the three categories listed above.

Fund finder information will be updated to provide this guidance shortly.

Note: University qualifications are approved by the Committee on University Academic Programmes (CUAP). Universities should continue providing a breakdown of learning hours in STEO.

Qualification and unit standard reporting issues

The TEC and NZQA have identified discrepancies across numerous TEOs between the qualification completions reported to TEC and unit standards reported to NZQA for the same period. Some are due to different reporting timeframes or cross-crediting, but other discrepancies are due to administrative errors or SMS issues.

It is important this information is correct, in particular to ensure learners have accurate, up to date records of their educational achievement for employment and further education opportunities. Please ensure your organisation’s reporting is accurate and up to date.

We are contacting TEOs directly where we have identified discrepancies, and will be further analysing the April and August Single Data Returns. Accuracy of reporting is always a focus of TEC audits, and qualification and unit standards reporting will be continue to be a particular focus of all audits this year.

Fees Free – what’s covered?

From now on an important component of all of our audits will be checking that the Fees Free policy is being correctly applied. The first few TEOs we’ve audited this year have largely been applying it correctly. However, there may still be some confusion about what should be included.  

The Fees Free initiative for provider-based education will pay:

›     tuition fees and associated mandatory fees, and

›     compulsory student services fees.

Learners may be asked to pay other optional and occasional fees such as students’ association and club memberships, some course materials, and late fees.

For industry training, the Fees Free policy will cover all fees paid by eligible learners and their employers for training and assessment, including fees paid to industry training organisations or directly to training and assessment providers. The policy will not cover other fees and charges paid by eligible learners and their employers.

If you have questions about the Fees Free policy, in the first instance you can look at our FAQs for tertiary education organisations or talk to your investment manager.

Equity Funding Survey

You have received an email from the Monitoring and Crown Ownership team requesting that you fill out this survey on how you use Equity funding. If you have not yet completed it, please do so as soon as possible. We hope the results will provide some best-practice ways of working we can share with you.