An examination of the costs and benefits of the quality assurance mechanisms of Authorised Validating Agencies applicable to three key stakeholder groups - higher education institutions, Access Course providing institutions and students
This work outlines the history of Access Courses and explains the National quality assurance framework established to co-ordinate standards within such provision. The National Framework consists of a number of Authorised Validating Agencies (AVAs) who have been empowered to validate Access provision subject to various quality assurance mechanisms. The quality assurance requirements of AVAs are generalised and the effects they have, in terms of costs and benefits, to a number of stakeholders are detailed. Key stakeholders identified are the providing institution, students, and higher education institutions. The general principles of cost-benefit analysis are outlined along with case study examples. A computer-based model is produced with the capability of manipulating the generalisable costbenefit factors to accommodate local conditions and could therefore be used as a decision support aid by the three key stakeholder groups. The application of the model beyond the case studies is also discussed. The problematic nature of applying cost-benefit analysis to the quality assurance mechanisms of Access Courses is also considered. Areas where further research is required are outlined.