What Did You Say? SETA Accreditation Terminology Explained

The road to SETA Accreditation is a complex one, dotted with some difficult terms and abbreviations that can easily confuse you. To help you better prepare yourself for SETA Accreditation and help you understand the jargon – we have compiled a list of terms that are often misused in the Accreditation process.

Abbreviations You Should Know

If you have started your accreditation journey or even if you are in the research phase, here are some industry-specific abbreviations you should be aware of:

  • AQP – Assessment Quality Partner
  • DHET – Department of Higher Education and Training 
  • DQP – Development Quality Partner
  • ETQA – Education and Training Quality Assurance Body
  • FET – Further Education and Training
  • GET – General Education and Training
  • NQF – National Qualifications Framework (also the Framework)
  • NSA – National Skills Authority
  • OBET – Outcomes Based Education and Training
  • QA – Quality Assurance
  • QAP – Quality Assurance Partner
  • QCTO – Quality Council for Trade and Occupation 
  • QMS – Quality Management System
  • RPL – Recognition of Prior Learning
  • SAQA – South African Qualifications Authority (also the Authority)
  • SETA – Sector Education and Training Authority
  • SDP – Skills Development Provider

Terms You Should Know

Okay, so now that we covered the abbreviations, let’s take a look at the different terminology you may be faced with during your accreditation process. 

  • Accreditation refers to the certification, usually for a period, of a person, a body or an institution as having the capacity to fulfil a function in the quality assurance system set up by the South African Qualifications Authority in terms of the Act;
  • Act refers to the National Qualification Framework Act 2008 amended 7th December 2010
  • Applied competence refers to the ability to put into practice the learning outcomes acquired in obtaining a qualification in the relevant context.
  • Assessment refers to the process of collecting evidence of learners’ work to measure and make judgments about the achievement or non-achievement of specified National Qualifications Framework standards and/or qualifications.
  • Assessor refers to the person who is registered by the relevant Education and Training Quality Assurance Body in accordance with criteria established for this purpose by SAQA to measure the achievement of specified National Qualifications Framework standards or qualifications, and “constituent assessor” has a corresponding meaning;
  • Constituent refers to belonging to the defined or delegated constituency of an organization or body referred to in these regulations.
  • Core learning refers to that compulsory learning required in situations contextually relevant to the qualifications, and “core” has a corresponding meaning.
  • Credit refers to that value assigned by the Authority to ten (10) notional hours of learning per credit. 10 notional hours is equivalent to one credit; QCTO qualifications have an equivalency of 8 notional hours to one credit.
  • Critical outcomes mean those generic outcomes which inform all teaching and learning, and ‘critical cross-field education and training outcomes’ has a corresponding meaning. 
  • Education and Training Quality Assurance Body refers to a body accredited in terms of section 5(1) (a) (ii) of the Act, responsible for monitoring and auditing achievements in terms of national standards or qualifications, and to which specific functions relating to the monitoring and auditing of national standards or qualifications have been assigned in terms of section 5(1) (b) (i) of the Act;
  • Elective learning refers to a selection of additional credits at the level of the National Qualifications Framework specified, from which a choice may be made to ensure that the purpose of the qualification is achieved, and ‘elective’ has a corresponding meaning.
  • ETD Practitioner (Education, Training and Development Practitioner), is a term used in this document to include the whole spectrum of educators and trainers: teachers, trainers, facilitators, tutors, markers, lecturers, development officers, mentors, and the like.
  • Exit level outcome refers to the outcomes to be achieved by a qualifying learner at the point at which he or she leaves the programme leading to a qualification.
  • Facilitator of learning and assessment refers to an individual who facilitates learning processes and activities and manages and administers assessment. This concept includes educators, trainers, mentors, etc.
  • Field refers to an area of learning used as an organizing mechanism for the National Qualifications Framework.
  • Fundamental learning refers to that learning which forms the grounding or basis needed to undertake the education, training or further learning required in the obtaining of a qualification and ‘fundamental’ has a corresponding meaning.
  • Integrated assessment refers to that form of assessment that permits the learner to demonstrate applied competence and which uses a range of formative and summative assessment methods.
  • Learner refers to an individual who is participating in a learning programme with the purpose of achieving credits for standards and or qualifications.
  • Learning programme refers to the combination of programmes, modules, or units of learning (learning materials and methodology) by which learners can achieve the learning outcomes for a qualification.
  • Moderating body refers to a body specifically appointed by the Authority for moderation.
  • Moderation refers to the process which ensures that assessment of the outcomes described in the National Qualifications Framework standards and/or qualifications is fair, valid, and reliable.
  • Moderator refers to the person who moderates assessments.
  • National Standards Body refers to a body registered in terms of section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Act, responsible for establishing education and training standards or qualifications, and to which specific functions relating to the registration of national standards or qualifications have been assigned in terms of section 5(1)(b)(i) of the Act;
  • Notional hours of learning refer to the learning time that it is conceived it would take an average learner to meet the outcomes defined, and includes concepts such as contact time, time spent in structured learning in the workplace and individual learning;
  • Outcome refers to the contextually demonstrated end-products of the learning process.
  • Primary focus refers to that activity or objective within the sector upon which an organization or body concentrates its efforts.
  • Professional body refers to a statutory body registered as such in terms of the legislation applicable to such bodies or a voluntary body performing the functions contemplated in the legislation for such bodies but not registered as such.
  • Provider refers to a body that delivers learning programmes that culminate in specified National Qualifications Framework standards or qualifications and manages the assessment thereof.
  • Qualifying learner refers to a learner who has obtained a qualification.
  • Quality assurance refers to the process of ensuring that the degree of excellence specified is achieved.
  • Quality audit refers to the process of examining the indicators which show the degree of excellence achieved.
  • Quality management system refers to the combination of processes used to ensure that the degree of excellence specified is achieved.
  • Recognition of prior learning refers to the comparison of the previous learning and experience of a learner howsoever obtained against the learning outcomes required for a specified qualification and the acceptance for purposes of qualification of that which meets the requirements.
  • Registered constituent assessor refers to an assessor who has met the requirements for registration as an assessor of specified NQF qualifications and/or standards and has been registered by the QAP under whose primary focus the standards and qualifications fall.
  • Registered standards refer to standards or qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework.
  • Registration refers to the process which ensures that the person who assesses learner competence has the requisite criteria recommended by Standard Generating Bodies (SGBs) for specified NQF registered standards and/or Qualifications.
  • Sector refers to a defined portion of social, commercial, or educational activities used to prescribe the boundaries of an Education and Training Quality Assurance Body; and
  • Specialized learning refers to specialized theoretical knowledge that underpins application in a specialization. 
  • Specific outcomes refer to contextually demonstrated knowledge, skills and values which support one or more critical outcomes.
  • Validation refers to the overall process by which it is determined by a QAP whether an assessment is valid (has succeeded in assessing what it claims to have assessed); and leading to the acceptance or rejection of assessment results – it can include a range of validation options, for example, verification, statistical analysis, examination of the assessment instrument, sampling of evidence of applied competence, observation of processes, site visits or interviews. Criteria and Guidelines for the Registration of Assessors 
  • Verification refers to the process managed by a QAP for externally verifying (checking) moderation processes and confirming or overturning moderation findings.
  • Verifier refers to the person who verifies the moderation process on behalf of the QAP.


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