Re-registration and re-accreditation 12 January 2017

Provider: Australian Academy of Music and Performing Arts (formerly International Conservatorium of Music (Aust))

Course: Bachelor of Music (Performance)

Renewal of registration and renewals of accreditation

Report on the application for renewal of registration of Australian Academy of Music and Performing Arts

TEQSA has agreed to orders made by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) under which the registration of Australian Academy of Music and Performing Arts (AMPA), trading as Academy of Music and Performing Arts as a higher education provider will be renewed until 31 December 2020 under subsection 36(1) of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (the TEQSA Act) in the provider category of 'Higher Education Provider'.

These orders also involve the imposition of conditions on the registration of AMPA under subsection 32(1) of the TEQSA Act. A copy of the conditions is available at Attachment 1.

TEQSA has also agreed to orders made by the AAT under which the accreditation of the following courses of study offered by AMPA is renewed until 31 December 2020 under subsection 56(1) of the TEQSA Act:

  • Bachelor of Music (Performance)
  • Associate Degree of Music (Performance)

Background to Decision

AMPA applied to TEQSA for registration in the category of Higher Education Provider under Part 3 of the TEQSA Act.

TEQSA considered AMPA's application and sent AMPA a draft summary of findings with details of the assessment of AMPA's application by the responsible case management team. TEQSA's Commission considered AMPA's response to the draft summary of findings and made a decision on 13 May 2016 not to grant AMPA's application for registration and for the renewal of accreditation of two courses of study, on the basis that the TEQSA Commission was not satisfied that AMPA met the Threshold Standards.

TEQSA's reasons for not granting AMPA's application included, but were not confined to, TEQSA's lack of satisfaction that AMPA continued to meet:

  • Provider Registration Standards (PRS) 1.5 and 1.6 in relation to provider standing
  • PRS 3.2, 3.4, 3.6 and 3.8, in relation to corporate and academic governance
  • PRS 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, Provider Course Accreditation Standards (PCAS) 4.1 and 4.2 and Provider Category Standards (PCS) 1.4, in relation to staffing
  • PRS 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 and 6.5, in relation to grievance procedures and the provision of information and support to students
  • PCAS 1.1, 1.3, 1.7 and 6.1, in relation to design and review of the courses
  • PCAS 3.1 and 3.2, in relation to admission processes for the courses
  • PCAS 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 5.4, 5.5 and 5.6, in relation to assessment in the courses and student performance.

AMPA applied for review of TEQSA's decision in the AAT. In the course of the proceedings, AMPA made submissions and provided further information and evidence about the matters raised in TEQSA's decisions.

TEQSA engaged external experts to review the further material.

It is well established that absent a specific legislative provision to the contrary, the AAT is generally required to make a decision on review based on the evidence available at the time of the AAT's decision on review, and that the AAT is not confined to the evidence available at the time of the primary decision. Accordingly, TEQSA accepted that the AAT was required to take account of the further material submitted to TEQSA after TEQSA had not granted AMPA's application.

Main Reasons for Decision

After reviewing the further material submitted by AMPA and participating in mediation with AMPA, TEQSA was satisfied that AMPA meets the Threshold Standards. However TEQSA considered that there remained risks related to AMPA's capacity to meet the Threshold Standards in the future. On this basis, TEQSA agreed that it was appropriate to substitute TEQSA's initial decision to not grant the application with decisions to register AMPA until 31 December 2020 and to impose a number of conditions on that registration.

The conditions are designed to address risks against the same Provider Registration Standards, Provider Category Standards, and Provider Course Accreditation Standards listed above in relation to TEQSA's reasons for initially deciding not to grant AMPA's application for renewal of registration. In particular, the conditions are designed to address the risk that changes to AMPA's structure and operations agreed by AMPA and TEQSA might not be fully implemented.

TEQSA is satisfied that the conditions will provide a framework for TEQSA to oversee the key risks associated with AMPA's corporate and academic governance arrangements and the quality assurance of its higher education operations.

Attachment 1

Conditions imposed on the registration of AMPA:

Condition 1:

AMPA is required to provide TEQSA with minutes of each meeting of AMPA's Corporate Board and Academic Board, within 21 days after the day on which the relevant meeting occurs, which demonstrate a process consistent with the TEQSA Guidance Notes for the relevant bodies on the matters which were the subject of discussion, and which specify the extent to which the discussion took account of external advice or input; the minutes must be endorsed by the Chair of each body with a certification by the Chair that the governance of AMPA has occurred in a manner consistent with the following:

a) each member of Australian Academy of Music and Performing Arts (ACN 085 028 351) will execute an authority that the Corporate Board can operate independently at all times and will undertake not to take any action or make any decision that would compromise or potentially compromise the independence of the Corporate Board

Condition 2:

AMPA is required to provide a report to TEQSA on AMPA's implementation of its revised admissions process within 6 months after the date of the decision

Condition 3:

AMPA is required to provide TEQSA with a report, no later than four weeks prior to the commencement of each teaching period in AMPA's courses, which describes the units to be taught by each staff member (including casual and part-time staff), the relevant qualifications or professional experience of the staff member in relation to those units and the scholarly activities undertaken by the staff member in the preceding six months

Condition 4:

by 26 May 2017, AMPA is required to provide TEQSA with a report on the activities undertaken by those individuals engaged to support AMPA's scholarship in the field of Dance

Condition 5:

AMPA is required to:

a) by 31 March 2017, provide TEQSA with a comprehensive diagnostic analysis of the probable causes for observed rates and trends for student attrition, progression and minimum time completion rates, for each accredited higher education course it offers and each year, for the period 2014 to 2016 inclusive; the analysis must include accurate data on student attrition, completion, progression and grade distribution rates and include analysis by:

i) entry path (comparing students admitted under each entry pathway)

ii) credit awarded (comparing students admitted with no credit awarded with students admitted with credit for up to a third of the course and between a third and two thirds of the course)

iii) basis for assessment of the student's English language proficiency

iv) country of origin

v) referral to and uptake of student support (including participation in formal study support programs)

vi) student achievement in similar courses at other higher education providers

b) develop and provide to TEQSA by 31 May 2017, a detailed strategy, having regard to the comprehensive diagnostic analysis required under paragraph (1) above, which:

i) includes specific targets for improvement of student attrition, completion and progression rates for each course and each year over the forward registration period

ii) gives consideration to admission practices and standards, study load of students, the identification of students at risk of not progressing academically and the adequacy and effectiveness of student support

iii) has been considered and approved by the Applicant's Corporate Board and Academic Board

c) revise the targets determined in accordance with paragraph (b) above if and as directed by TEQSA

d) demonstrate improvement, with reference to the targets to be established under paragraphs (b) and (c), overall and for each accredited higher education course of study, through annually reporting to TEQSA on these rates by 28 February each year (for the rates in the previous year) throughout the period of registration, with these reports to commence on 28 February 2018; the reports must be considered and approved by AMPA's Corporate Board and Academic Board and be accompanied by evidence of this approval

Condition 6:

AMPA is required to provide TEQSA with reports on the moderation and benchmarking activities, including benchmarking of student performance data, undertaken by the Applicant in the preceding 12 month period; AMPA must provide its first report by 31 May 2017 and a report by 28 February in each subsequent year.