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The Scottish credit and qualifications framework: what's academic practice got to do with it?

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-06-04, 12:41 authored by Scott FernieScott Fernie, Nick Pilcher, Karen L. Smith
National Qualifications Frameworks (NQF) are a globally established and expanding phenomenon. They are increasingly merging and being mapped onto meta-qualifications frameworks. One key NQF in both these roles is the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF). Much research categorises the different types of NQF, details their success and failure, and there is a steadily expanding body of critical research into NQF. Despite this, little research has focused on how NQF are used in day to day academic practice in the very institutions whose qualifications they frame. This article begins to redress this by focusing on the SCQF as an exemplar. It presents a synthesis between contemporary literature, a documentary analysis of SCQF literature and the data from interviews with 15 stakeholders in different educational roles. The findings show that, despite the claims of the SCQF literature and contemporary literature regarding the success of the SCQF, its diffusion and the extent of its use amongst these stakeholders are limited. Instead, it is used more as a symbolic tick box exercise and largely ignored. We discuss the implications of this and posit questions that challenge the focus of existing research into NQF and argue for a shift in the criteria by which they are judged from educational to market based ones. © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.



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Published in

European Journal of Education






233 - 248


FERNIE, S., PILCHER, N. and SMITH, K.L., 2014. The Scottish credit and qualifications framework: what's academic practice got to do with it? European Journal of Education, 49 (2), pp.233-248.


© John Wiley & Sons Ltd


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is the peer reviewed version of the following article, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ejed.12056. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.






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