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Four-stage Quality Assurance Process

The HKCAAVQ uses the Four-Stage Quality Assurance Process to accredit operators and their learning programmes under the Hong Kong Qualifications Framework (QF).  The four stages are Initial Evaluation (IE), Learning Programme Accreditation (LPA), Programme Area Accreditation (PAA) and Periodic Review (PR).  Operators that wish to have their learning programmes accreditated are required to present evidence that they meet the required standards as specified in the Four-stage Quality Assurance Process.

Initial Evaluation (IE)

IE is an evaluation of whether a programme provider has the organisational competency to effectively manage and provide adequate resources for the development, delivery, assessment and quality assurance of its learning programmes and educational/training services.

Learning Programme Accreditation (LPA) and Learning Programme Re-accreditation (Re-LPA)

LPA is an overall evaluation of a learning programme to determine whether its planning and management, syllabuses, delivery arrangements and assessment methods, are able to achieve its claimed objectives and deliver its intended learning outcomes. Learning programme re-accreditation is the re-accreditation of programmes before the expiry date of their learning programme accreditation (previously known as "programme validation") validity period.

Programme Area Accreditation (PAA)

PAA is conferred on programme providers (i.e. operators) with sufficient quality assurance competency and maturity at the organisational level and a good track record in delivery of their accredited programme(s). Upon obtaining a PAA status, an operator may develop and operate learning programme(s) within an approved programme area at the approved QF level or lower levels without going through LPA and re-LPA by HKCAAVQ. Qualifications developed within the approved programme area(s) at the approved QF level or lower level can be entered, during the validity period, into the Qualifications Register (QR).

The Panel on PAA Scope, which reports to the HKCAAVQ Council, is to offer advice on the scope of a programme area arising from disagreement(s) between HKCAAVQ and operators; and on the addition/deletion of sub-area(s) in the list of Areas of Study and Training. 

Further information is available as listed below:

Periodic Review (PR)

PR is the fourth stage of the Four-stage Quality Assurance Process. Programme providers granted a PAA status have to undertake PR in order to maintain their PAA status. PR is repeated at regular intervals according to the validity period of the PAA status. PR is used to ascertain whether the internal quality assurance processes of the provider continue to be effective and sound.

Guidelines on the Four-Stage QA Process: 

For Accreditation of Academic Learning Programmes

  • Guidelines on Four-Stage QA Process under QF | PDF
  • Guidance Notes on Initial Evaluation, Learning Programme Accreditation and Learning Programme Re-accreditation | PDF | History of changes
  • Initial Evaluation (IE)
  • Learning Programme Accreditation (LPA)
  • Learning Programme Re-accreditation (re-LPA)
  • Updated Revised Common Descriptors for Associate Degree and Higher Diploma Programmes under the New Academic Structure (Version as at February 2017) | PDF
  • Classification of Areas of Study and Training in the Qualifications Register (QR), List of Sub-areas and Illustrative Scope Statements PDF
  • Guidance Notes on Programme Area Accreditation PDF | History of changes
  • Guidance Notes on Periodic Review PDF | History of changes

For Accreditation of Vocational Learning Programmes

  • Guidelines on Four-Stage QA Process under QF | PDF
  • Guidance Notes on Initial Evaluation, Learning Programme Accreditation and Learning Programme Re-accreditation PDF | History of changes
  • Initial Evaluation (IE)
  • Learning Programme Accreditation (LPA)
  • Combined IE & LPA
  • Learning Programme Re-accreditation (Re-LPA)
  • Classification of Areas of Study and Training in the Qualifications Register (QR), List of Sub-areas and Illustrative Scope Statements PDF
  • Guidance Notes on Programme Area Accreditation PDF | History of changes
  • Guidance Notes on Periodic Review PDF | History of changes

For Accreditation of Non-local Learning Programmes

  • Guidelines on Four-Stage QA Process under QF | PDF
  • Guidance Notes on Accreditation of Non-local Learning Programmes PDF History of changes
  • Initial Evaluation
  • Learning Programme Accreditation
  • Learning Programme Re-accreditation
  • Determining QF LevelsPDF

Other Accreditation Services

Useful Information

  • Guidelines for Promoting Accredited Programmes and Programmes undergoing Accreditation | PDF
  • Guidelines for Advertisements relating to the QF PDF
  • List of Operators awarded PAA Status PDF
  • Generic Level Descriptors | PDF
  • FAQs PDF History of changes

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