2.Quality Assurance

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2.Quality Assurance

  1. 1. Quality Assurance in European Higher Education Bologna Promoters’ Presentation Material (to be adapted as needed)
  2. 2. <ul><li>Quality assurance – why ? </li></ul><ul><li>From Industry to a Knowledge Society </li></ul><ul><li>Functions of QA </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional QA </li></ul><ul><li>External QA </li></ul><ul><li>Developing a QA Process </li></ul><ul><li>Policy Context </li></ul><ul><li>European Standards and Guidelines </li></ul><ul><li>Potential Outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Tools for Success </li></ul><ul><li>Projects and initiatives in European QA </li></ul>Content of the Presentation
  3. 3. <ul><li>A tool for addressing the complexities of European higher education </li></ul><ul><li>A relative concept, based on institutional mission and goals </li></ul><ul><li>C losely related to questions of ideology and power (who defines quality in which way, accountability aspects etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>In the best interest of students, employers and society in general, who should also be involved in the QA process </li></ul><ul><li>A dynamic, ongoing process </li></ul><ul><li>Potentially a bureaucratic burden, to be kept to a minimum </li></ul><ul><li>Orientation towards the future </li></ul>What is QA?
  4. 4. <ul><li>Fitness for purpose </li></ul><ul><li>Compliance (zero error or deviation) </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfaction of students and parents </li></ul><ul><li>Excellence </li></ul><ul><li>Value for money </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation (process of changing the student) </li></ul><ul><li>Enhancement (process of changing the university) </li></ul><ul><li>Control (punitive/rewarding process of QA) </li></ul><ul><li>Public information, reassurance, confidence </li></ul><ul><li>Ranking </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability </li></ul><ul><li>International acceptability </li></ul><ul><li>Resource allocation </li></ul>Why QA? A Multitude of Purposes
  5. 5. Short History of QA in European Higher Education <ul><li>Pre-1980s: </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching, learning, research and services are hardly measures or assessed in formal processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Quality notion in HE based on reputation of individual professors and departments of universities. </li></ul><ul><li>Post-1980s: </li></ul><ul><li>International discussions affirming the importance of safeguarding quality of higher education: UNESCO, OECD, INQAAHE… </li></ul><ul><li>Based on similar principles, many unique national and institutional QA approaches were developed. </li></ul><ul><li>Today: </li></ul><ul><li>Europe-wide efforts to enhance QA transparency, consistency and commonality to meet the needs of student mobility and cross-border cooperation of universities generated by internationalisation trends. </li></ul><ul><li>Joint European Standards and Guidelines, peer review process for legitimating QA agencies, and establishment of a Register of QA agencies. </li></ul>General: Quality in HE and Research has always been an issue.
  6. 6. <ul><li>Peer approval and national authorities felt to no longer be enough to assure quality of growing mass education. </li></ul><ul><li>Led to formalised processes for assessing the quality of higher education, particularly the teaching and learning aspects. </li></ul><ul><li>First quality assurance concepts were borrowed from industrial production processes, focusing on assessment of “ products” , measurable outcomes by employing bottom-line standards . </li></ul><ul><li>HE institutions develop QA processes and enhance awareness for the need of more institutionalised ways of quality assessment </li></ul><ul><li>But: QA processes not fully geared towards </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>specific nature & mission of HE institutions (social interaction in learning and research, resulting not necessarily in “products” or a clear-cut assessable outcomes) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>social and economic change (increasingly knowledge-based ) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>From product assessment …
  7. 7. <ul><li>Good QA of higher education needs to consider not only outcomes but also the context and the interaction of players </li></ul><ul><li>Specifically relationships between: </li></ul><ul><li>The mission goals of the university; </li></ul><ul><li>Researcher, teachers, students and administrative staff; </li></ul><ul><li>The framework of the conditions set by the university environment in its unique political, social and economic situation . </li></ul><ul><li>Quality assurance as a joint shared effort of all members of the institution = Quality Culture </li></ul>… to institutional Quality Culture in a Knowledge-based Society
  8. 8. <ul><li>A shared culture that values quality, not only managerial processes. </li></ul><ul><li>Not just a task of the QA specialist or the QA unit, but the collective attitude directing the actions of all stakeholders. </li></ul><ul><li>Includes internal reviews that are coherent with its own mission, objectives, and academic and organisational values. </li></ul><ul><li>An important aspect of maintaining a balance between autonomy and uniqueness with accountability. </li></ul>Quality Culture
  9. 9. <ul><li>QA has two main functions: </li></ul><ul><li>Quality enhancement: the maintenance and continual enhancement of teaching, learning and research, and of the entire institutional framework  Internal QA </li></ul><ul><li>..with regards to the outside world  External QA </li></ul><ul><li>Accountability: the demonstration of quality to external stakeholders (governments, students, parents, employers, society) for different reasons, including legal requirements and promotion of the university .  External QA </li></ul>Functions of QA
  10. 10. <ul><li>Internal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What : review processes and implementation of new strategies fit to the mission goals, profile and context of a university </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why: for the enhancement of the overall performance of the institution and all its parts and elements, and the promotion of creativity and innovation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How: activated by a dynamic quality culture – shared values and attitudes, staff identification with the university as a community of learning, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>External: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What: either voluntary or compulsory review/evaluation/audit by an external QA review body </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why: accountability and validation, and trust building between the institution and the outside world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How: often motivated by laws or requirements of funding agencies </li></ul></ul>Aspects of Institutional QA
  11. 11. <ul><li>Output: Examine the outcomes of the institution’s activities: teaching, research, goal achievement etc. Associated with excellence, fitness-for-purpose, effectiveness. </li></ul><ul><li>Input: Tallying of factors like equipment, staffing, funding etc. Needs to be related to output. </li></ul><ul><li>Process: The activities that lead to the desired outcomes, such as governance structures, decision-making processes or administrative procedures. </li></ul>Developing a QA process In order to achieve a sensible concept of quality, a QA process may need to consider all three aspects Quality Perspectives: A QA process can focus on
  12. 12. Developing a QA Process cont’d <ul><li>Selecting an a pproach : </li></ul><ul><li>Accreditation </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Audit </li></ul><ul><li>Review </li></ul><ul><li>Benchmarking </li></ul><ul><li>Assessment </li></ul><ul><li>Selecting a focus : </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional </li></ul><ul><li>Programme </li></ul><ul><li>Smaller units like research, services, faculty </li></ul><ul><li>Process, i.e. the institutional QA system itself </li></ul><ul><li>A combination of the above </li></ul>Accreditation and Evaluation are the most commonly used methods for external QA at the level of institutions and programmes. <ul><li>Caution: </li></ul><ul><li>These processes are not usually employed in their pure forms anymore, but in combination. </li></ul><ul><li>The terms can mean different things in different places. </li></ul>
  13. 13. Accreditation and Evaluation: Different in process and purpose <ul><li>Accreditation </li></ul><ul><li>formalised decision by an recognised authority (accreditation agency) as to whether an institution of higher education or a programme conforms to certain defined minimum standards. </li></ul><ul><li>Predefined consequences of a formal nature: authorisation to run a programme or institution, or: no accreditation/ closure </li></ul><ul><li>Yes/No decision – in some cases conditional “Yes” </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation aims at supporting the institution’s or programme’s efforts towards development and improvement </li></ul><ul><li>Aims at increasing strategic capacity for change and internal quality culture </li></ul><ul><li>Fitness-for-purpose rationale </li></ul><ul><li>Recommendations for enhancement, change, reorientation </li></ul><ul><li>Shared features : </li></ul><ul><li>self-evaluation/documentation submitted by institution or programme </li></ul><ul><li>external assessment by peers </li></ul>
  14. 14. Accreditation and Evaluation: Examples for mixed procedures <ul><li>Increasingly, a methodological mix can be observed: </li></ul><ul><li>A fitness-for-purpose approach would consider – probably intrinsically - a minimum “standard”, i.e. what is appropriate of an institution of this mission and standing. </li></ul><ul><li>a standard-based approach would have to consider fitness-for-purpose, i.e. in addition to national standards, the specific situation and mission of the institute </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluation can be linked to a formalized decision and concrete obligations and sanctions </li></ul><ul><li>Accreditation can recommend improvement, … </li></ul>
  15. 15. Programme <ul><li>Based on the ability of the institute to saveguard the quality of its parts </li></ul><ul><li>Easier to facilitate </li></ul><ul><li>Benefits all parts of the institution </li></ul><ul><li>Can not guarantee the quality of all programmes and services </li></ul><ul><li>appear as the more thorough approach, as it delivers a judgment or recommendations on the quality of the one specific programme. </li></ul><ul><li>in practice, it implies considerable costs and workload (periodicity, preparation of self-assessment report etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Institutional quality may limit programme performance </li></ul>Programme, institution or process?  A QA process may need to combine these approaches according to national and institutional requirements Institution, Process
  16. 16. <ul><li>Internationalisation/globalisation: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increased competition, growing global higher education market, debate on trade in educational services (GATS) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bologna Process: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>46 European Countries looking for convergence through common structures and tools - focus on teaching and learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lisbon Strategy: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>27 European Union Member States with ambitious economic and social goals – focus on research and wider societal transformation process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li> Demand for quality enhancement, and more convergence, cooperation and exchange in QA processes </li></ul></ul>Policy context
  17. 17. <ul><li>European Union Council Recommendation 24 September, 1998 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evaluation and improvement is a good thing </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bologna Declaration, 1999 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More European cooperation in QA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Prague Communiqué, 2001 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality is key to the success of the EHEA </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Berlin Communiqué, 2003 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quality moves to the top of the agenda </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The responsibilities of HEIs are acknowledged </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Bergen Communiqué, 2005 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Systematic introduction of internal QA directly correlation to external QA </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>European Standards and Guidelines </li></ul></ul><ul><li>London Communiqué, 2007 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Register of European Higher Education Quality Assurance Agencies </li></ul></ul>Policy context: Increasing importance of QA at European level Bologna Process – Ministerial Meetings
  18. 18. <ul><li>European Standards and Guidelines for QA </li></ul><ul><li>To be understood as joint principles to be considered during the development of national and institutional QA procedures. </li></ul><ul><li>Peer revies of QA agencies </li></ul><ul><li>All QA agencies must be recognised by a competent public authority in the European Higher Education Area (EHEA), as well as be independent in operation and decision from third parties. </li></ul><ul><li>European Register of QA agencies (tbc 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Instrument to assure and improve quality of QA agencies, and to promote mutual trust between them, as well as provide a list of reliable agencies institutions and governments can choose from. </li></ul><ul><li>European Forum for QA </li></ul><ul><li>European-level discussions about QA involving all constituencies and stakeholders. </li></ul>Tools for Success: Post-Bergen 2005
  19. 19. Bergen 2005: European Standards and Guidelines <ul><li>What they are: </li></ul><ul><li>Generic, not specific, principles of what should be done </li></ul><ul><li>A process-neutral source of assistance and guidance </li></ul><ul><li>What they are not : </li></ul><ul><li>Prescriptive </li></ul><ul><li>Detailed procedures </li></ul><ul><li>A European quality assurance system </li></ul><ul><li>Why they are important: </li></ul><ul><li>Agreed through the Bologna Process </li></ul><ul><li>Stocktaking through the Bologna Process </li></ul><ul><li>Inter-relationship between internal, external QA and QA agency </li></ul><ul><li>Potential for more transparency, cooperation and exchange at European level </li></ul><ul><li>international visibility of European HE </li></ul>
  20. 20. London 2007: European Quality Register <ul><li>Register of European and also international QA agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Promote the European Standards and Guidelines, in particular regarding QA agencies (peer review of agencies, impartiality etc.) </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: to allow stakeholders and the general public open access to objective information about trustworthy QA agencies that are working in line with the ESG. </li></ul><ul><li>It will enhance confidence in HE in the EHEA and beyond, and facilitate the mutual recognition of QA and accreditation decisions. </li></ul><ul><li>Voluntary, self-financing, independent and transparent. </li></ul><ul><li>The register will be the responsibility of the main stakeholders: HEIs, students, QA agencies and social partners. </li></ul>
  21. 21. The E4 Group <ul><li>European University Association (EUA) </li></ul><ul><li>European Student Union (ESU - formerly ESIB) </li></ul><ul><li>European University Colleges (EURASHE) </li></ul><ul><li>European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) </li></ul><ul><li>Tasked by the European Ministers to develop and implement the Register </li></ul>London 2007: Who does the Register? ENQA EUA EURASHE ESU
  22. 22. <ul><li>The Institutional Evaluation Programme </li></ul><ul><li>Quality Culture Project </li></ul><ul><li>Creativity Project </li></ul><ul><li>Transnational European Evaluation Project I and II (TEEP) </li></ul><ul><li>Quality Procedures in European Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>Quality Convergence Study Project </li></ul><ul><li>European Masters New Evaluation Methodolgy (EMNEM) </li></ul><ul><li>Tuning European Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>European Quality Labels </li></ul><ul><li>E-xcellence </li></ul>Projects and Initiatives in European QA

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