Structure and Grading
Learners must achieve all 60 credits validated within the Diploma in order to attain it.
The Diploma is comprised of 45 credits from level 3 graded academic units and 15 credits from level 2 or 3 ungraded units. Ungraded units may be developmental and/or ungraded versions of academic units. Ungraded and graded versions of the same unit cannot appear in a diploma.
All Access to HE Diplomas follows a standard grading structure. Each graded academic unit (level 3) is awarded as a Pass, Merit or Distinction. There is no overall, single grade for the Access to HE Diploma.
Grading decisions are made in accordance with QAA’s Grading Scheme (2013). Providers recommend grades for each graded academic unit following assessment and internal verification. These recommendations are subject to Pathway Moderation by Open Awards and not final until after the Final Awards Board (FAB).
Learners should be made aware that any grades recorded by the tutor/assessor are subject to change up until they are awarded by Open Awards at the Final Awards Board.
Final learner achievement is issued as a Diploma qualification certificate and unit transcript.
For all up-to-date information and guidance regarding grading, please refer to the QAA Access to HE Grading Scheme Handbook which can be found on the QAA website.
The documents that explain the QAA guidelines on grading are:
- Grading Scheme Handbook: Index (September 2013)
- Grading Scheme Handbook Section A: Introduction and Summary (September 2013)
- Grading Scheme Handbook Section B: The Grade Descriptors (September 2013)
- Grading Scheme Handbook Section C: Using Grade Descriptors in Assessment (September 2013)
- Grading Scheme Handbook Section D: Moderation and Standardisation (September 2013)
- Grading Scheme Handbook Section E: Learner Results and Awards Boards (September 2013)
- Tutors’ Quick Guide to Grading (September 2013)
There are seven grade descriptors for Access to HE:
1. Understanding of the subject
2. Application of knowledge
3. Application of skills
4. Use of Information
5. Communication and presentation
6. Autonomy and/or Independence
Open Awards has assigned three or more grade descriptors to be used with a particular unit to capture and reward the standard of learner performance that need to be taken into account when grading decisions are made for that unit.
All grade descriptors assigned to a unit must be used in the grading of the unit whenever it is delivered. Descriptors that have not been formally assigned to the unit must not be used.
Further information is available in section 2 of the Access to HE Handbook.