What constitutes a sound rationale for any variation as is referred to in the evidence guide at various points?
The move to outcome focussed Accreditation Standards
allows providers to focus on evidence that demonstrates that outcomes are achieved rather than relying solely on inputs that assume that outcomes can be achieved. This means that the lists of evidence provided are a guide to how the Standards and graduate competencies can be met and innovation is encouraged. Where variation is applied, education providers will need to consider each situation carefully with a view to ensuring the Standards and graduate competencies are met and, when next subject to assessment, demonstrate that any decisions taken fit within that context.
Until APAC conducts a full assessment (whether that be, for example, as part of a cycle accreditation assessment, an out of cycle assessment for a new program, a monitoring site visit etc.), APAC is unable to advise or offer a determination on which rationales for variation may be appropriate as there will be a range of factors to consider as part of the wider picture. An assessment takes into account documentation submitted, information obtained from meetings with staff, students and supervisors, etc. In the first instance, therefore, the onus will be on providers to ensure that all aspects of accredited programs meet the requirements of the Accreditation Standards and graduate competencies.