Academic level of assessment
Both AMTRA and Harper Adams University websites refer to the SQP qualification as being awarded at either a level 4 or level 5 qualification, depending on the areas studied, but what does this mean?
In England qualifications are divided into levels starting at level 1, progressing to level 8. Levels 1, 2 and 3 are commonly awarded during school with these levels representing GSCE’s (grade dependant level 1 or 2), with A Levels at level 3. For any Veterinary Nurses reading this, unless you obtained your qualification through a degree course, your RCVS award as you are aware, will be a level 3 award.
Higher levels are therefore qualifications commonly considered to be at Higher Education level. A Degree, for example sees students start at level 4 in the first year, progressing to level 5 in the second year and then completing at level 6. The AMTRA qualification is therefore at a level equal to modules studied during first/ second year degree studies, but what does this mean to you?
The academic level reflects what is expected from the learner. Instead of remembering facts and resighting these in an exam you are expected to show, through correct questioning that you understand the facts at level 4 and can apply the facts at level 5. This being of great importance for the SQP award as your assessment demonstrates that you can use the facts to complete your RAMA duties as the role expects. On a more personal level though, achieving the SQP qualification with AMTRA is something to be very proud of for two reasons. Firstly, you have an award giving responsibility and being of importance in relation to animal care and welfare, and secondly you have achieved an award at a higher academic level, through a University which is perhaps something you have not achieved previously. But I hear you ask, does this make the qualification hard if you are yet to sit your exam?
In short - no, the facts are the facts, and it is what you do with them that gives you the level 4/5 award, as mentioned it shows you understand the facts and can apply them in a work situation. That said you have to ask if it should be easy to be awarded a qualification that holds responsibility like this one. By achieving AMTRA, Harper Adams and your customers can be assured that those names held on the register, and those offering help and guidance have demonstrated the ability to perform the role, and we can all be confident in the individual’s ability.
Jane Thomas PgCE, BSc (Hons), Dip AVN, RVN, ISFM advcertFB, FHEA is Interim Head of Department – Animal Health, Welfare and Behaviour