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An analysis of learning levels within and between a degree and a diploma: New Zealand case study

Susan Warring (Faculty of Business and Technology, Whitireia Polytechnic, Auckland, New Zealand)

Quality Assurance in Education

ISSN: 0968-4883

Article publication date: 27 September 2011

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to analyse how learning levels differ within and between degrees and diplomas with specific application to the Bachelor of Applied Business Studies degree and the New Zealand Diploma of Business, which are delivered at a New Zealand polytechnic.

Design/methodology/approach

A literature review and content analysis of National Qualifications Frameworks was conducted to analyse how learning levels differ within and between degrees and diplomas with specific application to the Bachelor of Applied Business Studies degree and the New Zealand Diploma of Business which are offered at a New Zealand polytechnic.

Findings

A literature review and content analysis of National Qualifications Frameworks reveals that learning levels are differentiated by level of complexity, degree of abstraction, depth in a major subject, research competency, learner autonomy and responsibility, relative demand placed on students and increasing complexity and unpredictability of operational context. This analysis failed to find any difference in learning level between Bachelor of Applied Business Studies and New Zealand Diploma of Business papers nominally at the same level on the New Zealand National Qualifications Framework. The degree comprises a portion of papers at a higher learning level than the diploma and it is at this level that the difference is realised.

Research limitations/implications

Future research should investigate learning level differences between disciplines, qualifications and institutions.

Practical implications

This paper provides a framework on which to base course design, delivery and assessment of the Bachelor of Applied Business Studies degree and the New Zealand Diploma of Business and credit transfer between them.

Originality/value

This case study addresses the increasingly important issue of the compatibility of learning levels between different qualifications. As many economies acknowledge the necessity for increasingly skilled workforces, credit transfer to enable seamless transfer between qualifications is becoming a focus in seeking to facilitate lifelong learning. There are few studies that focus on National Qualifications level descriptors and the implications for different qualification types.

Keywords

Citation

Warring, S. (2011), "An analysis of learning levels within and between a degree and a diploma: New Zealand case study", Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 19 No. 4, pp. 441-450. https://doi.org/10.1108/09684881111170113

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited