Assessment, progression, costs
How will I be assessed?
Assessment isn't all about exams. In any Access course a variety of assessment methods will be used. These will include written and oral assessments and could take the form of projects, reports, presentations,
assignments, field work, essays, tests or research study. You will be assessed throughout the course and will receive credits for each successfully completed unit. While Access courses do involve hard work, learners thoroughly enjoy developing their own interests and skills.
QAA have published a guide on Understanding assessment: its role in safeguarding academic standards and quality in higher education. The guide can be found on the QAA website at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Pages/understanding-assessment.aspx
For entrants to Access programmes from September 2010 much of the assessed work will be graded as Pass, Merit or Distinction. Universities offering places may then request so many units to be achieved at Pass, Merit or Distinction level. The Access qualification as a whole is not graded,
i.e. you do not gain an Access Diploma to Health Studies at Merit. The units which contribute towards the achievement of the qualification are graded. This leads to the credit transcript showing which units have been achieved at what grade.
How long will it take?
An Access course usually takes a year of full-time study. You will be in college for about 16 hours per week. However, you will also need to do a substantial amount of self-study during the year, either in college or at home. You may have other life and work commitments to manage alongside your studies and many courses are available through day or evening part-time study over two years or more. Whether you chose full-time or part-time study many of the courses are flexible so that your learning fits around the way you live. Courses usually start in September and finish in June but some Access to Nursing courses start in January or February. However, three years is the maximum time allowed to gain sufficient credits to achieve the Access Diploma.
Will I get help in choosing my university course?
Most people on Access courses apply for university or a higher education course while they are at college. Colleges will support your progression to university by organising visits to Higher Education Fairs, talks from visiting university tutors and by arranging workshops to help you complete a UCAS application form.
What will it cost?
Many full-time Access courses are free. When you contact your chosen college they will give you advice on course costs and any financial support that may be available. Many colleges offer crèche facilities for learners but places may be limited. Please contact your chosen colleges for details.
Is any learning support available?
There are student services officers and advisers in colleges to offer advice and support to learners with physical disabilities, learning difficulties and other support needs.
What qualification will I achieve?
When you successfully complete your programme you will receive an Access to Higher Education Diploma. This is a recognised national qualification that is accepted for entry into Higher Education courses.
Agored Cymru is recognised by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) to validate the qualification. When you successfully complete your Access course the diploma you receive bears the QAA Access logo.