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

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journal contribution
posted on 2016-04-18, 13:14 authored by Nick Pilcher, Scott FernieScott Fernie, Karen L. Smith
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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Published in

Journal of Education and Work


1 - 12


PILCHER, N., FERNIE, S. and SMITH, K.L., 2015. The impact of National Qualifications Frameworks: by which yardstick do we measure dreams? Journal of Education and Work, 30 (1), pp. 1-12.


© Taylor and Francis


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

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/

Publication date



This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Education and Work on 16 Dec 2015, available online: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13639080.2015.1122178






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