Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Processes

Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Processes
in Beauty Therapy

In this report I shall be considering the role of quality assurance (QA) and quality improvement (QI) processes within my area of teaching, which is the City and Guilds level 2 diploma in beauty therapy at Newcastle College. In particular, I wish to focus on how these processes govern the process of assessment.

QA can be defined as ‘a systematic process of verifying that a product or service being developed is meeting specified requirements’ (Dept. of Health, 2009). The specified requirements of assessment I am considering are overseen by City and Guilds as well as Newcastle College. The college has clear, well defined and comprehensive QA processes, including how courses are planned and validated, annual course monitoring, working with other institutions (e.g. who also run the same beauty therapy diploma course), and external verification.

The usual process of assessment can be summarised in a diagram (see attached). The first stage requires that the tutor designs assessment tasks. According to the Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK) standards these should ‘produce valid, reliable and sufficient evidence’ (EP 2.2) and that these methods should be applied ‘fairly and effectively’ (EP 2.1).

Within the beauty therapy course, a range of assessment methods are used. These include ongoing formative assessments, such as observation of practical skills and regular coursework assignments which create a portfolio of evidence, and final summative assessments, such as the GOLA test (global online assessment) which occurs towards the end of the course and tests students’ underpinning knowledge and understanding.

Assessments, such as written assignments, are designed to have validity, currency, authenticity and sufficiency. Validity means they should accurately reflect the learning they are designed to measure, currency requires that they reflect current knowledge, authenticity means they must be...