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The impact of National Qualifications Frameworks: by which yardstick do we measure dreams?

Pilcher, Nick; Fernie, Scott; Smith, Karen


Scott Fernie

Karen Smith


National Qualifications Frameworks (NQFs) are a global phenomenon. This is evidenced by their scale, coverage and intrinsic link with education policy across Europe and beyond. Research into their impact has encompassed a number of perspectives; theoretical, practical and evaluative. Yet, despite the existence of critical literature related to the development, design and impact of NQFs, little research has questioned the actual feasibility of researching the ‘impact’ of NQFs per se. The arguments in this paper position such research as both unfeasible and futile: a dream for which it is impossible to identify a suitable yardstick to measure. We base our argument around three broad themes: linguistics and semantics; homogeneity and; methodological complexity. Around these themes we aim to show why such research has proved problematic and, in doing so, contribute to the field as it explores the impact of NQFs in the future.


Pilcher, N., Fernie, S., & Smith, K. (2017). The impact of National Qualifications Frameworks: by which yardstick do we measure dreams?. Journal of Education and Work, 30(1), 1-12.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 11, 2015
Online Publication Date Dec 16, 2015
Publication Date 2017
Deposit Date Nov 12, 2015
Publicly Available Date Nov 12, 2015
Journal Journal of Education and Work
Print ISSN 1363-9080
Electronic ISSN 1469-9435
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 30
Issue 1
Pages 1-12
Keywords National Qualifications Frameworks; impact;
Public URL
Publisher URL