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Quality assurance refers to planned and systematic processes that provide outside stakeholders with confidence in the quality of a service or product. There are two core concepts at the centre of this volume:
systematic processes that provide outside
stakeholders with confidence in the quality
of a service or product.
of this volume:
quality assurance and internationalisation.
This chapter will outline these concepts and establish
the relationship between them.
Quality assurance is about giving trust to stakeholders or students about
Accreditation is a tool used to give this trust.
Quality refers to both the process and the result
(product or outcome).
Quality can either be seen as part of a product or service,
which makes it an objective feature (quality of education),
or dependent on the customers\' perception (student satisfaction), which makes it a subjective feature.
Expected qualityand designed quality are measured before using the product, while perceived and supplied quality are measured after its delivery and use.
As the perceived quality of a product or service is in many cases not entirely equal to the expected quality, you could say there is a gap between expectedand perceived quality. This is on the customers’ side.
However, the suppliers’ side shows the same possible pitfall. Designed quality does not necessarily coincide with the supplied quality because of variations in the production process, for instance.
Finally, anyone working with students or other customers knows there is a gap between both students’ expectations of quality and the quality standards set by the institution, as well as between students’ perceptions of quality and the quality actually supplied.
QUALITY OF PROCESSES
QUALITY OF PRODUCT/OUTCOME
QUALITY ENHANCEMENT (ACT)
QUALITY CONTROL (DO)
Quality policy explains which actions are necessary to reach the quality standards set. The quality standards specify the expectations of quality. A quality policy document includes:
Quality control is a systematic continuous effort to reach the set quality criteria or to meet the requirements of the client or customer. Quality control is meant to ensure that the service delivered or product developed is in line with the scope envisaged.
Quality assurance refers to planned and systematic processes that provide outside stakeholders with confidence in the quality of a service or product.
Quality enhancement means taking deliberate steps to bring about continuous improvement in the effectiveness of certain activities. Enhancement is about innovative improvement in which some risk is involved. This also makes quality enhancement relative, since what may be innovative today is the norm of tomorrow.
Each of these levels may have different objectives. We will focus mainly on the institutional level.
At the institutional level, the quality of processes and accreditation are important focus points. Accreditation can be defined as a quality assessment, which results in a judgement.
Accreditation is a multi-step process,involving:
by a panel
Quality assessment report
The difference between quality assessment and accreditation can be established from the figure above.
Whereas assessment will answer the question of how good a programme or institution is, accreditation will answer the question of whether it is good enough.
Adding value to the quality of education itself , through international activities such as student and staff mobility or joint curriculum development, internationalisation is indeed a catalyst of quality. Many even say that internationalisation is a process of educational change aimed at improving the quality of education.
How the internationalisation process should be shaped to lead to quality improvement of education is subject to much debate, mainly because proof of the positive influence of internationalisation on the quality of education is still fragmented.
Considering a programme or institution to be of good quality will depend on the goal your institution is planning to achieve.
Quality assurance can secure funding, lead to improvement of processes or results and produce information for future students and employers. However, quality assurance is also a very complicated, never-ending process.
The first step is to determine your goals, preferably in a policy plan, and set a strategy on how to reach these goals.
Why was it again that an institution wants to set up a quality assurance system?
Professionalising the internationalisation activities within your institution requires a new habit: starting with planning rather than doing.
A policy plan including explicit goals is essential in quality assurance.
A policy plan includes the basic criteria by which you intend to assess the quality delivered by your institution. The plan should therefore include:
Goals on the institutional level could include:
To set measurable objectives you can use the SMART checklist:
The next step is to decide on which activities to undertake in order to reach these goals. These could for instance be:
Many internationalisation activities cannot be organised without support from certain facilities. These facilities could be grouped as:
The more importance is attached to quality assurance of
Internationalisation, the more it seems to become
detached from the educational programmes.
The central question that comes up now is: should we intergate quality assurance system or should we keep it separate? In Savonia University we use the integrated system.
Policy & strategy
Innovation and Learning
The EFQM Excellence Model, a non-prescriptive framework based on nine criteria, can be used to assess an organisation’s progress towards excellence.
Excellent results with respect to Performance, Customers, People and Society are achieved through Leadership driving Policy and Strategy, that is delivered through People, Partnerships and Resourses and Processes.
Evaluation is one of the most important elements of quality assurance.
Evaluation of internationalisation activities is increasingly undertaken in higher education institutions because knowing where you are going requires knowing where you start from.
Key to setting up evaluations is determining beforehand what you want to measure. Additionally, a wide range of decisions need to be made on the way in which the assessment will be organised.
The characteristics of the product delivered by the assessment will depend on the answer to the following questions: How are these stakeholders persuaded? Will the outcomes of the assessment be made available in the form of indicators and data, through reports or through ranking and league tables?And will these outcomes be made publicly available or to a selected group of readers only(ministry of education)?
beforehand what you want to measure.