Saturday, 12 August 2017

The impact of National Qualifications Frameworks: by which yardstick do we measure dreams?

an article by Nick Pilcher (Edinburgh Napier University, UK), Scott Fernie (Loughborough University, UK) and Karen Smith (University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield, UK) published in Journal of Education and Work Volume 30 Issue 1 (2017)


National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) are a global phenomenon. This is evidenced by their scale, coverage and intrinsic link with education policy across Europe and beyond. Research into their impact has encompassed a number of perspectives; theoretical, practical and evaluative.

Yet, despite the existence of critical literature related to the development, design and impact of NQFs, little research has questioned the actual feasibility of researching the ‘impact’ of NQFs per se.

The arguments in this paper position such research as both unfeasible and futile: a dream for which it is impossible to identify a suitable yardstick to measure. We base our argument around three broad themes: linguistics and semantics; homogeneity; and methodological complexity.

Around these themes, we aim to show why such research has proved problematic and, in doing so, contribute to the field as it explores the impact of NQFs in the future.

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