The IoC Accreditation Standard – Statements of Alignment

Bowers, David (2021). The IoC Accreditation Standard – Statements of Alignment. The Open University & The Institute of Coding.


The IoC Accreditation Standards were developed for the Institute of Coding, a collaboration, funded by HEFCE (later the Office for Students), between over 30 Higher Education Institutions in England and more than 100 employers.

The IoC Accreditation Standards are a response to the concerns articulated in the Shadbolt Review . A key concern was that employers were looking for better “work-preparedness” in graduates, underpinned by real experience. That is, employers want graduates to be able to “do” something.

Thus, the IoC Accreditation standards have been developed to focus on real-world competence rather than on academic achievement. The distinction between these are set out in Bowers, Petre and Howson . Whilst graduates with both academic insight and real-world competence are necessary across the economy as a whole, existing accreditation schemes seem to focus on the latter, almost to the exclusion of the former.

The key requirement of the IoC Accreditation Standards is that students must demonstrate competence in real-world settings, alongside gaining appropriate academic knowledge, rather than having academic knowledge alone. Students’ real-world achievements are mapped against the SFIA competence framework, and must demonstrate competence in at least one SFIA skill.

An accreditation standard for a degree, at Bachelor’s or Master’s level, must align with external benchmarks and frameworks. This document sets out the alignments between the IoC accreditation standards and:
- The Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England (FHEQ)
- The Framework for Qualifications in Higher Education in Scotland (FQHEIS)
- The Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) Subject Benchmark Statements for Computing
- Emerging academic frameworks, such as the ACM Computing Curricula 2020
- The Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)
- International Standards ISO 17024:2012 and ISO 27443-1:2019 for the certification of software and systems engineers
- The registration requirements for RITTech
- The BCS accreditation requirements for degrees providing the educational component of CITP.
These frameworks are summarised in Bowers & Howson, 2019 .

The alignment is confirmed in all cases, provided that the knowledge component of the standard is delivered by a Higher Education Institution that itself complies with FHEQ/FQHEIS.

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