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A framework for standards

What are Standards?

National Standards: can be described as specific descriptions of learning achievements agreed on by all major stakeholders in the particular area of learning. (NSB Regulations 2 provides for the registration of national qualifications and standards.) As the NSB Regulations indicate, “unit standards” means “registered statement of desired education and training outcomes and their associated assessment criteria together with administrative and other information as specified”. National means that the standards have gone through the SAQA registration process.
One might take this future and say that national standards are the agreed repositories of knowledge about “quality practice” or competence, as well as about legitimate criteria for assessing such competence.
Competence:
in turn, might be defined as the application of knowledge, skills and values (Regulation 5(1)(a)) in a specific content to a defined standard of performance.
Practice:
could be located in any arena, and involve practitioners ranging from the shop floor lathe operator to a professional nurse to an academic historian. In all of these arenas of practice the implicit knowledge of what makes for “good practice” or competence needs to be made explicit in the form of national standards.

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