Every unit and qualification in the QCF has a credit value and a level. One credit represents ten notional hours of learning, showing how much time the average learner would take to complete the unit or qualification. Levels indicate difficulty and vary from entry (level 1) to level 8. There are three types of qualification:
- Awards (1 to 12 credits)
- Certificates (13 to 36 credits)
- Diplomas (37 credits or more)
You can have an award of any difficulty level from 1 to 8. This is because the type indicates the size of qualification, not its difficulty.
The title of a qualification should indicate its difficulty, how long it will take the average learner to complete, and its general content, using the following information:
- Qualification level (from lowest, entry level to level 8 at the top)
- Qualification size (award/certificate/diploma)
- Content of the qualification
Simply by looking at the title of a qualification you will be able to see how difficult it is, how long it will take the average learner to complete, and its general content. To understand the level of difficulty of the units and qualifications in the new framework it might be helpful to know that GCSEs (grade A*–C) are level 2, GCE A levels are level 3 and a PhD is a level 8. Knowing this can help to position the difficulty and challenge of each level in the framework.