UK degrees are internationally competitive qualifications and the value of UK degrees continues to be robust. Higher education institutions, as autonomous bodies, are responsible for the academic standards of the qualifications which they award. It is for each institution to determine its own curricula, organise teaching and learning, and assess and award final degrees.
Institutions are supported by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) which exists to safeguard the public interest in sound standards of higher education qualifications and to encourage continuous improvement in the management of the quality of higher education. The QAA carries out this function by conducting audits of the management of quality in institutions. One aspect of these audits is to consider how closely institutions follow the QAA’s Code of Practice, which includes a section dedicated to the assessment of students. The judgments of the QAA audit teams are made public in published reports. Additionally—and unique to the UK—all higher education institutions are expected to appoint external examiners to assist them to monitor the standards of their awards.