Level descriptors

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The SEEC (2016) credit level descriptors for higher education are useful for thinking about designing assessment by level. The descriptors are available at www.seec.org.uk. The descriptors for each of the levels can be found in the Supporting Information (right-hand sidebar).

The reference points used in the development of these descriptors includes the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (November 2014), available at www.qaa.ac.uk.

What are the SEEC level descriptors?

The descriptors are defined by SEEC as the level of challenge, complexity, and autonomy expected of a learner on completion of a defined and bounded learning activity such as a module or programme of learning. They provide a description of increasing levels of learning (from level 3 to level 8) categorised in relation to knowledge, understanding and skills. As such they represent one articulation of the expected learning gain of learners as they progress through higher education.

The SEEC level descriptors set out the knowledge, understanding, skills and attributes which define/recognise learning and ascribe it to a particular academic level. They are designed to help assign credit to higher education-level learning defined by the FHEQ as levels 4 through to 8. However, to provide a context for the consideration of progression to higher education levels, the SEEC credit level descriptors also include level 3.

The SEEC credit level descriptors are aligned with the England, Wales and Northern Ireland (EWNI) Summary Credit Level Descriptors for consistency. The descriptors are grouped under 5 headings, 4 of these have been amended to fit with those used in the Sheffield Hallam University validation guidance.

Further guidance of the SEEC credit level descriptions along with the headings of each descriptor can be found on our ‘A Guide to Level Descriptors’ and individual level descriptors under Supporting Information (right-hand sidebar).