This month brings the new and improved QM Higher Education Rubric, Seventh Edition! To see the detailed changes, you can order the new rubric or take the Rubric Update Session, which is a self-paced workshop that will be required for all QM role holders. In the meantime, if you’d like a short summary of the revisions, continue reading below.
The main changes include:
- The number of Specific Review Standards has increased from 42 to 44.
- The points value scheme was also slightly revised, with the total now being 101.
- A few terminology updates were implemented.
- The descriptions and annotations for some of the general and specific standards were revised.
- The instructions were expanded and clarified, with new additions for synchronous and continuous education courses.
Most of the standards (general or specific) have undergone changes consisting of revised wording, additional special instructions, and/or new examples to make the standards clearer and emphasize the design of inclusive and welcoming courses. In addition, some standards have received more substantial revisions – here are the ones that I found the most significant:
Standard 3: There is a new Specific Standard: SRS 3.6: “The assessments provide guidance to the learner about how to uphold academic integrity.” This standard is met if “the course assessments incorporate or reflect how the institution’s academic integrity policies and standards are relevant to those assessments.” SRS 3.6 is the main addition to the 7th edition, and a very welcome one, especially considering the new complexities of academic integrity policies.
Standard 4: SRS 4.5 (“A variety of instructional materials is used in the course.”) has received an important annotation revision – this standard is met if at least one out of three of the following types of variety are present in the course: variety of type of media; different perspectives/representations of ideas; diverse, non-stereotypical representations of persons or demographic groups. I was really happy to see this clarification, since it’s always been a little difficult to evaluate what constitutes “variety”, and reviewers will certainly appreciate the recognition of diversity of people and ideas.
Standard 8: SRS 8.3 was divided into two separate Specific Standards: SRS 8.3 “Text in the course is accessible.” and SRS 8.4 “Images in the course are accessible.” At the same time 8.5 (former 8.4) was turned into “Video and audio content in the course is accessible.” This should allow for a more nuanced evaluation of the various accessibility elements, and it is nice to see the focus on captions for both video and audio materials. Moreover, these three standards (SRS 8.3, 8.4, and 8.5) now include publisher-created content – this is an important step forward in terms of advocating for all educational materials to be made accessible upfront.
In addition to the standards themselves, some changes were made to the Course Format Chart, the Course Worksheet, and the Glossary. Notably, a course/alignment map is now required with the Course Worksheet – a change that is sure to spark delight among QM reviewers. The definitions of activities and assessments were also revised to clarify the distinction between the two – another much-needed modification that should eliminate a common point of confusion.
Overall, the new edition brings about clearer instructions, more relevant examples, and a deeper inclusion of diversity, accessibility, and academic integrity. Reviewers and course designers should find it easier to evaluate or create high quality courses with this updated guidance.