XCRI 1.2 Qualifications

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Contents

[edit] Educational Qualification Information Model

Editor's NoteThis is the model used for Qualification elements in XCRI 1.2 separated out for possible future submission to CEN

[edit] Foreword

The Educational Qualification Information Model has as its background the identified need to represent qualification information in multiple metadata specifications, including information about learning opportunities, diplomas, and transcripts of results for units of learning.

[edit] ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

[edit] Introduction

According to the [EQF], qualifications represent: “the formal outcome of an assessment and validation process which is obtained when a competent body determines that an individual has achieved learning outcomes to given standards”. The Guidelines of European Learner Mobility (CEN-LMAI] defines qualification as “status awarded to or conferred on a learner by an awarding body”.

In use, the term qualification can be used to mean either the specification of a qualification (e.g. the qualification that can be obtained as a result of successfully completing a learning opportunity) or the award conferred upon a learner. In the context of this standard, qualification is used only in the former sense of the specification of qualifications.

However, this does not preclude the use of this standard along with other information to represent individual achievement, for example by reference from an individual achievement record to the description of the qualification obtained as part of the specification of the learning opportunity that they undertook.

This standard defines a common information model for representing educational qualifications that can be used either as part of a larger information model or standard, or as standalone definitions.

[edit] Scope

This standard defines the semantics of classes and properties used to represent descriptions of qualifications in electronic form.

The definitions in this standard are primarily intended to be referenced by other bindings, specifications, and standards; for example, specifications representing learning opportunities and units of learning, or specifications representing learner achievements.

[edit] Conformance

[edit] Conforming Instances

A strictly conforming instance is a set of structured information constituted only of objects and statements defined by the classes and properties of this standard and/or fully qualified refinements of the classes and properties defined in this standard.

NOTE: As there are no cardinality restrictions on any of the properties of this standard, an instance consisting only of one or more objects conforming to classes defined in this standard but without any properties is a strictly conforming instance.

A conforming instance is a set of structured information that includes at least one object or statement defined by the classes and properties of this standard, or at least one fully qualified refinement of a class or property defined in this standard. A conforming instance may contain any number of additional objects and properties not defined by this standard.

NOTE: Any information set that contains a statement conforming to this standard is therefore a conforming instance; for example, an XML document containing an element that conforms to the specification of a property defined in this standard is a conforming instance.

A fully qualified refinement is defined for the purpose of conformance as a property that explicitly extends a property defined by this standard. A fully qualified refinement must be capable of being processed according to the semantics of the property it extends.

[edit] Conforming Bindings

A strictly conforming binding is constituted only of bindings to an exchange format of the classes and properties defined by this standard and fully qualified refinements of the properties defined in this standard.

A conforming binding may contain additional properties that do not necessarily extend or map to the properties defined in this standard.

NOTE: For example, a binding of [CEN-MLO] that uses the properties of this standard for the content of the MLO ‘qualification’ property is also a conforming binding of this standard.

Both strictly conforming bindings and conforming bindings must be capable of generating and validating instances that can be automatically converted to a strictly conforming instance of this standard.

Both strictly conforming bindings and conforming bindings may impose additional constraints upon the values of properties defined in this standard.

Both strictly conforming bindings and conforming bindings may impose cardinality constraints on properties defined in this standard.

[edit] Conforming Applications

A conforming application must have at least one of the following capabilities:

1. Generating conforming instances and/or instances conforming to a conforming binding

2. Processing conforming instances, and/or instances that conform to a conforming binding.

[edit] Normative References

[ISO 15836], Information and documentation - The Dublin Core metadata element set

[CEN-LMAI] TBC: Learner Mobility Achievement Information

[CEN-MLO] CWA 15903: Metadata for Learning Opportunities (MLO) – Advertising. ftp://ftp.cenorm.be/PUBLIC/CWAs/e-Europe/WS-LT/CWA15903-00-2008-Dec.pdf

[ECTS] European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc48_en.htm

[ECVET] The European Credit system for Vocational Education and Training http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc50_en.htm

[ECVET-TECH] European Credit System For Vet (ECVET): Technical Specifications http://ec.europa.eu/education/policies/2010/doc/ecvt2005_en.pdf

[EQF] European Qualifications Framework http://ec.europa.eu/education/lifelong-learning-policy/doc44_en.htm

[edit] Other References

[DCAM] Dublin Core Metadata Initiative: Abstract Model. http://dublincore.org/documents/2007/06/04/abstract-model/

[DCMI-TERMS] Dublin Core Metadata Initiative: Terms 1.1. http://dublincore.org/documents/dcmi-terms/

[IETF-RFC2396] Uniform Resource Identifier. http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt

[JSON] JavaScript Object Notation, http://www.json.org/

[W3C-RDFS] W3C Resource Description Framework Schema Language 1.0 http://www.w3.org/TR/rdf-schema/

[XML] Extensible Markup Language. http://www.w3.org/XML/

[YAML] Yaml Ain’t Markup Language. http://www.yaml.org/

[UK-QAN] UK Qualification Accreditation Number: http://data.dcsf.gov.uk/qwsweb/

[edit] Terms and Definitions

Resource: Anything that might be identified. Familiar examples include an electronic document, an image, a service. Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

Class: A group containing members that have attributes, behaviours, relationships or semantics in common. Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

Domain: The class of resource to which statements using a property may be made. Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

Literal: A literal value for a property defined within a statement; this may be a plain literal value (such as a string and language term) or a typed literal value (such as a value and data type specification identifier). Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

Property: A specific aspect, characteristic, attribute, or relation used to describe resources. Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

Range: The range of values that may be used for a property. Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

Refinement: A specification of a property or class that refines the definition of an existing property or class. A refinement should be capable of being processed according to the semantics of the property or class that it extends – that is, the semantics of the refinement are a logical subset of the semantics of the definition being refined. Attention is drawn to [DCAM] for a discussion of this term.

Statement: A combination of a property and a value specified for a resource.

Sub Property Of: The superclass of a property. Attention is drawn to [W3C-RDFS] for the detailed definition of this term.

URI: A uniform resource identifier, as defined by [IETF-RFC2396].

[edit] Namespace

The namespace for all classes and properties defined in this standard is http://purl.org/net/qm

[edit] Classes

The following class is defined as representing a Qualification resource.

URI: http://purl.org/net/qm#Qualification
Label: Qualification
Domain: Resource
Range: Class
Definition: A qualification.
Comments: Instances of this class may be used to represent either [1] an account of a qualification that can be obtained from completion of a learning opportunity, or [2] a qualification obtained as a result of completing a learning opportunity. The usage depends on the context in which the resource is used.

Editor's Note I've included Option for discussion - it is based on the model supplied by ISB. I don't think its wholly relevant, but may be useful. Alternatively we could define it as a property and leave its content undefined (e.g. descriptive text.) If we do define it here, the main properties are title, identifier and description


URI: http://purl.org/net/qm#Option
Label: Option
Domain: Resource
Range: Class
Definition: A resource which identifies a specific option or specialisation of a Qualification
Comments: Options including tiering (for example, as easier option with lower grades available), specialism (e.g. a Mathematics qualification focussed on statistics), or mode for which the qualification is awarded (e.g. by examination only)

[edit] Properties

The following properties are defined in the domain of Qualification. Note that these properties MAY be used as properties of a Qualification resource, or as properties of any other resource defined in any other standard or model that represents qualification information.

URI: http://purl.org/net/qm#accreditedBy
Label: Accredited By
Domain: Resource
Range: Resource
Definition: A recognised organisation that makes decisions about the status, legitimacy or appropriateness of an institution or programme of study.
Comments: The content of this property may be text describing the organisation, or a resource that describes the properties of the organisation. Examples of organisations include professional associations and universities.
URI: http://purl.org/net/qm#awardedBy
Label: Awarded By
Domain: Resource
Range: Resource
Definition: A recognised organisation which certifies that the qualification can be obtained as a result of successfully completing a learning opportunity; a recognised organisation that confers the qualification upon the learner.
Comments: The content of this property may be text describing the organisation, or a resource that describes the properties of the organisation. Examples of organisations include awarding bodies, learning providers, and assessment centres.
URI: http://purl.org/net/qm#type
Label: Type
Domain: Resource
Range: Literal
Sub-Property of: http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/type
Definition: A classification of the type of the qualification
Comments: The content of this property should be drawn from an appropriate controlled vocabulary of qualification types.


Editor's NoteSee discussion on forum about this - need to represent both expanded titles and their acronyms in qualifications. An alternative is to support abbr and span tags in titles

URI: http://purl.org/net/qm#abbr
Label: Abbr
Domain: Resource
Range: Literal
Sub-Property of: http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title
Definition: An abbreviated form of the title of the qualification
Comments:

[edit] Properties included from other standards

The following properties taken from existing standards are defined as being appropriate to the domain of Qualification. Note that these properties MAY be used as properties of a Qualification resource, or as properties of any other resource defined in any other standard or model that represents qualification information.

URI: http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/identifier
Label: Identifier
Domain: Resource
Range: Literal
Comments: See [ISO-15836] for a definition of this property.
URI: http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/title
Label: Title
Domain: Resource
Range: Literal
Comments: See [ISO-15836] for a definition of this property
URI http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/description
Label: Description
Domain: Resource
Range: Literal
Comments: See [ISO-15836] for a definition of this property
URI: http://purl.org/dc/terms/educationLevel
Label: Education Level
Domain: Resource
Range: Literal
Comments: See [DCMI-TERMS] for a definition of this property; see also the following section for guidance on usage.
URI: http://purl.org/dc/terms/hasPart
Label: Has Part
Domain: Resource
Range: Resource
Comments: See [DCMI-TERMS] for a definition of this property
URI: http://purl.org/dc/terms/isPartOf
Label: Is Part Of
Domain: Resource
Range: Resource
Comments: See [DCMI-TERMS] for a definition of this property

[edit] Guidance on usage

This section is non-normative, and for guidance purposes only.

[edit] Education Levels and Frameworks

Levels of qualifications are usually expressed in the context of a qualification framework, for example the European Qualifications Framework [EQF].

Rather than use a single integer or text for the EducationLevel property, implementers are encouraged to make use of Uniform Resource Identifiers [IETF-RFC2396] to identify both the level of the qualification and the framework from which the level is derived. For example, [CWA XXXXX] defines EQF levels using the form:

http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#n

Where n is the number of the EQF level.

Other frameworks for which a standard URI is not defined may be represented using a similar convention, whereby the URL of the framework precedes the level value separated using a URI fragment identifier. For example, the following would represent level 5 of the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework:

http://www.scqf.org.uk/#5

[edit] Identifiers and Frameworks

Identifiers of qualifications are usually expressed in the context of a qualification framework. Where identifiers are given, implementations are encouraged to use refinements of the identifier property for particular identifier schemes. For example, an identifier for a qualification issued according to the UK’s Qualification Accreditation Number [UK-QAN] system might be represented by:

<identifier xsi:type="qca:qan">50049422</identifier>

[edit] Alternative language representations

Bindings may wish to use a language tag, such as xml:lang, to indicate alternative equivalent natural language versions of properties, such as title and description.

[edit] Composite qualifications

Qualifications may be composed from other qualifications using the hasPart and isPartOf associations. Such composition may be by reference or by value depending on the binding used. Processing guidelines for implementers This section is non-normative, and for guidance purposes only.

In general, implementations should follow the specification of a conforming binding; these guidelines may be followed by implementations where no rules for treating the behaviour are specified in the binding. No Awarded By or Accredited By Associations Where there are no Awarded By or Accredited By properties for an instance of Qualification, an implementation may assume that the qualification is awarded by and accredited by the organisation that offers the learning opportunity that the qualification is associated with. However it is up to implementations to determine a reasonable business rule.

[edit] Multiple education levels

Where multiple values are given for level in an instance:

1. Ignore any refinements of the education level property and accept only an unqualified level property, if exactly one exists in the instance. 2. Where levels are represented as URIs, infer the appropriate level to use from the URIs. 3. Treat the instance as being in error.

NOTE: Instances may use refinements of the level property to encode alternative representations of the level of the qualification: for example alternative equivalent level representations derived from different frameworks.

[edit] Examples

This section is non-normative, and for illustration purposes only.

An example using [CEN-MLO] to represent a programme and qualification

<mlo:learningOpportunitySpecification>
	 <dc:title>Psychology</dc:title>
	<mlo:qualification>
		<dct:educationLevel>http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#5</dct;educationLevel>
		<dc:title>BSc.(Hons)</dc:title>
	</mlo:qualification>
</mlo:learningOpportunitySpecification>

An example using [CEN-MLO] for a course with a qualification accredited by a different Learning Opportunity Provider to the provider of the learning opportunity.

<mlo:learningOpportunitySpecification>
	<dc:title>Business</dc:title>
	<mlo:qualification>
		<dct:educationLevel>http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#5</dct:educationLevel>
		<dc:title>BSc.(Hons)</dc:title>
		<q:accreditedBy>
			<mlo:learningOpportunityProvider>
				<dc:title>University of Manchester</dc:title>
			</mlo:learningOpportunityProvider>
		</q:accreditedBy>
	</mlo:qualification>
</mlo:learningOpportunitySpecification>

A simple example using [XML]:

<Qualification>
	<dc:title>Certificate of Excellence</dc:title>
	<dcterms:educationLevel>http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#4</dcterms:educationLevel>
 </Qualification>

A simple example using [XML], with element refinements providing alternate descriptions:

<Qualification>
	<dc:title xml:lang=”en”>Certificate of Excellence</dc:title>
	<dc:description xml:lang=”en”>A certificate awarded by the training center to indicate that the candidate has excelled in all aspects of the course</dc:description>
       <dc:title xml:lang=”fr”>Certificat d’Excellence</dc:title>
	<dc:description xml:lang=”fr”> Un certificat délivré par le centre de formation pour indiquer que le candidat a excellé dans tous les aspects du cours</dc:description>
	<dcterms:educationLevel>http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#4</dcterms:educationLevel>
</Qualification>

A composite example using [XML]:

<Qualification>
	<dc:title>Higher Education Diploma</dc:title>
	<dcterms:educationLevel>http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#4</dcterms:educationLevel>
	<hasPart>
		<Qualification>
			<dc:title>Foundation Certificate</dc:title>
		</Qualification>
	</hasPart>
	<hasPart>
		<Qualification>
			<dc:title>Higher Certificate</dc:title>
		</Qualification>
	</hasPart>
</Qualification>


A simple example using [YAML]:

Qualification:
	title: Certificate of Excellence
	educationLevel: http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#4


A simple example using [JSON]:

{"Qualification": {
    "title": "Certificate of Excellence",
    "educationLevel": "http://purl.org/net/cm/terms/EQF#4"
}}
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