Understanding Quality in Higher Education 3


Gro Hanne Aas, Jon Haakstad, Peter Williams, Laura Beccari, Andrea Schenker-Wicki, Rolf Heusser, Norman Sharp, Jürgen Kohler


12,99 € (101 Seiten, PDF)


  • Quality Begins at Home

    External Audits as ‘Special Events’ in Internal Quality Assurance Processes

    Gro Hanne Aas, Jon Haakstad

    Based on the experience gained from three years of quality audits and programme accreditations in higher education institutions carried out by the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education (NOKUT), this article addresses the topics of both external and internal quality assurance. The primacy of internal over external processes is advocated. The article argues that external quality assurance works best when it relates directly to internal quality assurance. Based on the notion that ‘responsibility for quality rests with the institution itself’, the article promotes the design of external evaluation procedures which function primarily as ‘special events’ in the institutions’ own continuous quality work.

  • Quality Assurance in the UK

    Lessons Learned and Foundations Laid

    Peter Williams

    The systems and processes, actors and agencies, methods and measures involved in the quality assurance of higher education in the United Kingdom have been in a state of constant change for the last sixteen years. Although many of its aims and objectives have remained constant, the UK’s approach to quality assurance has moved with the times. It has re-invented itself on several occasions, changing as national and international circumstances have changed, and aligning itself more closely with the needs of all those with an interest in quality – students, employers, Governments and higher education institutions themselves.

  • The Swiss External QA System: Lessons Learned over the Past Five Years

    Rolf Heusser, Laura Beccari, Andrea Schenker-Wicki

    The external quality assurance system in Switzerland focuses on institutional assessments. Periodic assessments of the internal quality assurance systems of the Swiss universities are mandatory and linked to the financing of the institutions. The OAQ successfully carried out the first cycle of such audits in 2003 – 4 which it then repeated in 2007 – 8. These audits have been well accepted by the institutions and were perceived as being a contribution to institutional quality enhancement. Changes at universities following the first audit have been noticed and this clearly shows the success of an institutional approach to external QA. Bologna, and particularly the ESG, served to accelerate internal developments in Switzerland. Project-based international partnerships proved to be an essential ingredient to improve the agency’s daily work, while international memberships in relevant networks increased the agency’s level of accountability and credibility with positive national spill-over effects.

  • The Quality Enhancement Framework in Scotland: Some Reflections on the Scottish Revolution

    Norman Sharp

    This article draws on the experience of being one of the principal developers of the Quality Enhancement Framework in Scotland. It highlights the importance of establishing an approach to quality management in higher education based on very firm, explicit and shared guiding principles. It emphasises in particular the essential role of building constructive partnerships with all the key players. In particular, the importance of students as key partners in managing learning is stressed. The article emphasises the power of a model based on the driving force of enhancing the future student experience rather than ticking the box of past performance. The model suggests that even in the very best institutions, there is always room for improvement. Finally, the article emphasises the importance of long-term development and the dangers of short-termism – but always informed by and improved through transparent internal and external evaluation.

  • Institutional and Programme Approaches to Quality

    Jürgen Kohler

    This article describes several approaches to developing quality study programmes and to assessing this quality. It clarifies matters of terminology, introduces the basic categories of quality approaches, and offers a short survey of current practices and contextualities in Europe, before providing an extensive analysis of the key features of these different approaches. These are commonly described either as focusing on programmes – i.e. based on a compliance test or on a fitness of and for purpose methodology – or as focusing on the institution, i.e. on institutional processes geared towards the quality of study programmes. This analysis is followed by close scrutiny of the pros and cons of these quality approaches, including a description of possible options for improvement. The article concludes by pointing out challenges and opportunities in the context of possible future developments in Europe.

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