Analytic Quality Glossary

This is an international analytic glossary of issues related to quality in higher education

Each item is listed below with a core definition synthesised from various sources.
For a full analytic review including context, associated issues, related terms and sources click on the underlined term in the alphabetical listing below.
This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for amendments or additions.
The information in this Glossary may be used and circulated without permission provided the source and copyright is acknowledged.

Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004–12, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/glossary/
Plagiarism: click here to see a list of those who have reproduced all or a significant part of the core definitions of this Analaytic Quality Glossary WITHOUT clearly citing the source or that copyright is LEE HARVEY
Page updated 30 September, 2013 16:07 . copyright Lee Harvey, 2004–12

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A

Absolute standard: An absolute standard is a fixed specification of a set of skills or abilities or, in its simplest form, a pass mark that needs to be achieved by a student.

Academic advisement: Academic advisement is a term used in the United States. In the UK, for example, this would be referred to as personal tutorial support.

Academic freedom: Academic freedom is the right for individual scholars to learn, teach, research and publish without interference or fear of reprisal.

Academic infrastructure: Academic infrastructure is the name given to the array of quality-related processes and practices in the United Kingdom.

Academic recognition: Academic recognition is a set of procedures and processes for the acknowledgement and acceptance (subject to conditions), between institutions and countries, of higher education qualifications.

Academic standards : Academic standards refer to the achievement of students and can be either the standard set (to be met or surpassed) or the standard achieved by a student.

Academic year: The academic year is:
1. the duration of a specific programme of study (which may not last a complete 12 months and is divided into terms, semesters or quarters).
2. the start and finish dates of the annual cycle of a university or national higher education system.

Accelerated programme: An accelerated programme/program is is one completed within the normal time span..

Access: Access is the process of enabling entry to higher education. Access has two linked but distinct meanings.
1. the general concept that relates to making higher education accessible.
2. a shorthand for programmes that provide preparation for entry to higher education, such as the UK Access to HE courses.

Access agreement: Access agreement is a statement by an institution (in the UK) to government about how it intends to contribute to improving particiaption in higher education from under-represented groups.

Access courses: Access courses are preparatory programmes for students to gain entry to higher education.

Access fund: Access fund is money specially earmarked to support non-traditional students in gaining access to higher education.

Accessibility: See access

Accountability: Accountability is the requirement, when undertaking an activity, to expressly address the concerns, requirements or perspectives of others.

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Accreditation: Accreditation is the establishment of the status, legitimacy or appropriateness of an institution, programme or module of study.

Accreditation body: An accreditation body is an organisation delegated to make decisions, on behalf of the higher education sector, about the status, legitimacy or appropriateness of an institution, or programme.

Accreditation duration: Accreditation decisions are usually limited to a fixed and stated period of time, after which the institution or programme is required to engage with a more or less rigorous re-accreditation process.

Accreditation mill: An organisation that awards accreditation to institutions or agencies for money without requiring the institution or agency to meet appropriate quality standards, lacking any review of activity and without any requirement for subsequent periodic review.

Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL): APCL is learning acquired from previous experience that has been formally assessed.

Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL): APEL is the formal acknowledgement (based on professional assessment) of learning acquired from previous experience, usually from experience unrelated to an academic context.

Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL): Formal acknowledgement (based on professional assessment), by way of granting credit, of students' previous learning: credit is given towards a programme of study or towards professional body accreditation.

Accreditation portfolio: An accreditation portfolio is the accumulated evidence germane to establishing accredited status.

Accreditation status: Accreditation status is the embodiment of the decision made by the accreditation body.

Accreditation survey: Accreditation survey is a term mainly applicable in the US context and refers to a process of checking compliance.

Accreditors: Accreditors are agencies that provide recognition to institutions as part of an accreditation process (see also accreditation body).

Action: Action is a term used in the United States to imply a judgment or decision following an accreditation. (see also adverse action)

Additional learning opportunities: Additional learning opportunities are elements of the programme of study that augment the usual classroom teaching of the syllabus content.

Adult education: 1. All forms of post-school education of students above a specified age. 2. Specially designed programmes for students above a specified age, which may or may not lead to a formal qualification but is usually certificated.

Advanced placement : See accreditation of prior learning

Adverse action: Adverse action is a term used in the US to refer to failure to achieve/retain accreditation. (See also action).

Agency: Agency is, in the context of quality in higher education, shorthand for any organisation that undertakes any kind of monitoring, evaluation or review of the quality of higher education.

Aim: An aim is an overall specification of the intention or purpose of a programme of study or institutional mission or policy.

Alumnus: An alumnus (plural alumni) is a graduate of an institution.

Application fee: An application fee is required by some institutions or sector organisations to process an application to study.

Appraisal of student learning: Appraisal of student learning is the process of providing formative and summative feedback to students on the development of their learning.

Approval: Approval is an overarching term to cover various forms of academic recognition of a programme or institution.

Articulation agreement: See credit transfer and academic recognition

Assessment: A general term that embraces all methods used to judge the performance of an individual, group or organisation.

Assessment of student learning: Assessment of student learning is the process of evaluating the extent to which participants in education have developed their knowledge, understanding and abilities.

Assessment of teaching and learning: Assessment of teaching and learning is the process of evaluating the quality and appropriateness of the learning process, including teacher performance and pedagogic approach.

Associate degree: An associate degree is a sub-Bachelor qualification.

Assurance: Assurance of quality in higher education is a process of establishing stakeholder confidence that provision (input, process and outcomes) fulfils expectations or measures up to threshold minimum requirements.

Audit: Audit, in the context of quality in higher education, is a process for checking that procedures are in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes.

Audit panel: See review team

Audit report: An audit report is a codification of the process, findings and outcomes of the audit process, usually prepared by the auditors and project team.

Auspices: Auspices is the provenance under which a quality monitoring agency (or other evaluation body) operates.

Authentic assessment: Assessment of students that uses practical and meaningful tasks to demonstrate the application of knowledge and attributes.

Authorised Validating Agency (AVA): An AVA is an organisation or consortia licensed to certify, authorise or authenticate programmes of study.

Autonomy: Autonomy is being able to undertake activities without seeking permission from a controlling body.

Awarding body: An awarding body is an organisation that issues an educational award, following formal assessment, and includes bodies that certify professional competence, thus including higher education institutions award councils and professional bodies.

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B

Bachelor-master's: Bachelor-master's is the shorthand for a two-cycle system of higher education that is being introduced across the European Higher Education Area as part of the Bologna process.

Bachelor degree: A bachelor degree is the first-level higher education award, usually requiring three or four years' study but more in some medical subjects.

Benchmark: A benchmark is a point of reference against which something may be measured.

Benchmark statement: A benchmark statement, in higher education, provides a reference point against hich outcomes can be measured and refers to a particular specification of programme characteristics and indicative standards.

Benchmarking: Benchmarking is a process that enables comparison of inputs, processes or ouputs between institutions (or parts of institutions) or within a single institution over time.

Best practice: Best practice refers to effective, ideal or paradigmatic practice within an organisation that others would benefit from adopting or adapting.

Binary system: A binary system is one that has higher education taught in two different type of institution, traditional (academic) universities alongside more vocationally-oriented institutions.

Blended learning: Blended learning is a flexible approach that combines face-to-face teaching/learning with remote (usually internet-based) learning.

Block grant: Block grant is a term used to refer to the core funding provided by a national government (via a funding council) to a higher education institution.

Bologna process: The Bologna Process is an ongoing process of integration and harmonisation of higher education systems within Europe.

Bruges process: The Bruges Process is the [old name] for the development of European co-operation on vocational education and training.

Bruges-Copenhagen process: The Bruges-Copenhagen Process is the development of European co-operation to enhance vocational education and training.

Bursary: Bursary is a form of financial assistance to students to facilitate completion of their study.

 

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C

Career guidance : Careers guidance is the process that enables learners to make well-informed decisions about future learning or work activities.

Certification: Certification is the process of formally acknowledging achievement or compliance: it can be used to signify the achievement of an individual, such as a student, or of an institution.

Classification: Classification is (1) the process of identifying types of institution based on their core functions or economic status; (2) the process of delineating the class of award gained by a student.

Cloisterism: Cloisterism is a conservative, defensive and isolationist type of collegialism that is usually inward-looking and elitist.

Code of Practice: A code of practice is a documented set of recommended or preferred processes, actions or organisational structures to be applied in a given setting.

Collegialism: Collegialism in higher education is a process of governance that prioritises shared decision making among the (usually senior) academic community.

Community-based education: Community-based education (CBE) is learning that takes place in a setting external to the higher education institution.

Community college: A community college, in the USA, is an intermediate college between compulsory education and higher education, although it offers some programmes that may be defined as higher education.

Comparability: Comparability is the formal acceptance between two or more parties that two or more qualifications are equivalent.

Competence: Competence is the acquisition of knowledge skills and abilities at a level of expertise sufficient to be able to perform in an appropriate work setting (within or outside academia).

Compliance: Compliance is undertaking activities or establishing practices or policies in accordance with the requirements or expectations of an external authority.

Consistency (as a definition of quality): See perfection

Content standards: Content standards are the codification of an expected or prescribed curriculum.

Continuing education: Continuing education is:
1. a generic term for any programme of study (award-bearing or not) beyond compulsory education.
2. post-compulsory education of a short-term nature that does not lead directly to a major higher education qualification.

Continuing professional development (CPD): Continuing professional development (CPD) refers to study (that may accumulate to whole programmes with awards) designed to upgrade knowledge and skills of practitioners in the professions.

Control: Control is the process of regulating or otherwise keeping a check on developments in higher education.

Co-operative education: Co-operative education includes work experience as part of the learning experience.

Co-operative study: See sandwich; co-operative education

Corrective action: Corrective action is process of rectifying problems.

Copenhagen Process : see Bruges-Copenhagen Process

Correspondence course: A correspondence course is a study unit undertaken by the student remotely from campus via written communication with teachers.

Correspondence education : see correspondence course

Course: Course refers to either a programme of study or a subunit of a programme of study.

Credit: Recognition of a unit of learning, usually measured in hours of study or achievement of threshold standard or both.

Credit accumulation: Credit accumulation is the process of collecting credit for learning towards a qualification.

Credit transfer: Credit transfer is the ability to transport credits (for learning) from one setting to another.

Criteria: Criteria are the specification of elements against which a judgment is made.

Criteria-referenced assessment: Criteria-referenced assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students against a set of pre-specified criteria.

Curriculum: Curriculum is the embodiment of a programme of learning and includes philosophy, content, approach and assessment.

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D

Degree: Degree is the core higher education award, which may be offered at various levels from foundation, through bachelors, masters to doctoral.

Degree cycle: See bachelor-master's

Degree mill: A degree mill is an organisation or institution that issues degree certification for an appropriate payment, with little or no requirements for the individual to demonstrate full competence at the relevant degree level in the discipline area.

Delegated accountability: Delegated accountability refer to the process of allowing institutions and higher education systems to take control of ensuring quality providing they are accountable to principle stakeholders, not least government.

Departmental audit: See internal sub-institutional audit

Diagnostic assessment : Diagnostic assessment is an evaluation of learning potential.

Diploma: Diploma is:
1. a generic term for a formal document (certificate) that acknowledges that a named individual has achieved a stated higher education award.
2. an award for a specific level of qualification (diploma level) which in some countries is between a bachelor and a masters-level award.
3. a term for any award beyond bachelors level up to but excluding doctoral level awards, including continuing education certification.

Diploma mill: A diploma mill is an organisation or institution that issues certified qualifications for an appropriate payment, with little or no requirements for the individual to demonstrate full competence at the relevant level in the discipline area.

Diploma recognition: See academic recognition

Diploma supplement: A diploma supplement is a detailed transcript of student attainment that is appended to the certificate of attainment of the qualification.

Dissertation: A dissertation is an extended (usually written) project involving research by the student, which contributes significantly towards a final assessment for a (higher) degree.

Distance education: Distance education is higher education undertaken by students in a setting remote from the physical campus of the higher education institution.

Distributed education: Distributed education occurs when the teacher and student are situated in separate locations and learning occurs through the use of technologies (such as video and internet), which may be part of a wholly distance education programme or supplementary to traditional instruction.

Distributed learning: See distributed education

Doctoral degree: The doctoral degree is the highest level of award in most higher education systems.

Dual degree: A dual degree is an award made by two or more higher education institutions for a single study programme..

Dual programme: see Dual degree.

Duration of accreditation: see accreditation duration.

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E

E-learning: See online programme

Effectiveness: Effectiveness is the extent to which an activity fulfils its intended purpose or function.

Efficiency: Efficiency is the extent to which an activity achieves its goal whilst minimising resource usage.

Employability: Employability is the acquisition of attributes (knowledge, skills, and abilities) that make graduates more likely to be successful in their chosen occupations (whether paid employment or not).

Empowerment: Empowerment is the development of knowledge, skills and abilities in the learner to enable them to control and develop their own learning.

Enhancement: Enhancement is a process of augmentation or improvement.

Equivalency examination: See accreditation of prior learning

European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS): ECTS is a system for recognising credit for learning and facilitating the movement of the recognised credits between institutions and across national borders.

Evaluation: Evaluation (of quality or standards) is the process of examining and passing a judgment on the appropriateness or level of quality or standards.

Evaluation of institutions: See external evaluation; external institutional audit

Evaluations of quality assurance mechanisms: See audit

Ex-ante assessment: Ex-ante assessment involves undertaking an evaluation of the conditions for the launch of a programme or institution.

Excellence: Excellence means exhibiting characteristics that are very good and, implicitly, not achievable by all.

Exceptional: (as a definition of quality): see excellence

Ex-post assessment: Ex-post assessment involves undertaking a review of an operational programme or institution.

External evaluation: External evaluation is:
1. a generic term for most forms of quality review, enquiry or exploration.
2. a process that uses people external to the programme or institution to evaluate quality or standards.

External evaluation team: External evaluation team is the group of people, including persons external to the programme or institution being reviewed, who undertake the quality evaluation.

External examiner: An external examiner is a person from another institution or organisation who monitors the assessment process of an institution for fairness and academic standards.

External expert: External expert is someone with appropriate knowledge who undertakes a quality or standards review (of any kind) as part of a team or alone and who is external to the programme or institution being reviewed.

External institutional audit: An external institutional audit is a process by which an external person or team check that procedures are in place across an institution to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes.

External quality assurance agency (EQA-agency): See Agency

External quality evaluation: See external evaluation

External quality monitoring (EQM): External quality monitoring (EQM) is an all-encompassing term that covers a variety of quality-related evaluations undertaken by bodies or individuals external to higher education institutions.

External review indicator: An external review indicator is a measurable characteristic pertinent to an external quality evaluation.

External sub-institutional audit: An external sub-institutional audit is a process by which an external person or team check that procedures are in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes in part of an institution or relating to specific aspect of institutional provision or outcomes.

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F

Fachhochschule: Fachhochschule is a higher education institution, in Germany, Austria, Switzerland (and previously in Liechtenstein), focusing on vocational education.

Faculty: Faculty is:
1. the organisational unit into which cognate disciplines are located in a higher education institution
2. a shorthand term for the academic (teaching and research) staff in a higher education institution.

Faculty audit: See internal sub-institutional audit

Faculty review: Faculty review has two different meanings, the first based on faculty as an organisational unit, the second based on faculty as a term for academic staff:
1. Faculty review is a process of reviewing the inputs, process or outputs of a faculty as an organisational unit; its structure, mode of operation, mission, aims and objectives.
2. Faculty review, (meaning review of academic staff) evaluates the performance of researchers and teachers. (See also assesment of teaching and learning)

Fees: Fees are the financial contribution made by students to their post-compulsory education

Fitness for purpose: Fitness for purpose equates quality with the fulfilment of a specification or stated outcomes.

Fitness of purpose: Fitness of purpose evaluates whether the quality-related intentions of an organisation are adequate

Follow up: Follow up is shorthand for procedures to ensure that outcomes of review processes have been, or are being, addressed.

Formal learning: Formal learning is planned learning that derives from activities within a structured learning setting.

Formative assessment: Formative assessment is evaluation of student learning that aids understanding and development of knowledge, skills and abilities without passing any final judgement (via recorded grade) on the level of learning.

Foundation degree: A foundation degree is an intermediary (sub-degree) qualification in the UK designed in conjunction with employers to meet skills shortages at the higher technician level.

Foundation programme: A foundation programme provides an introduction to degree-level study.

Framework for Qualifications : See qualifications framework

Franchise programmes: Franchise programmes are study units of one higher education institution adopted by and taught at another institution, although the students formally obtain their qualification from the originating institution.

Full-time equivalent (FTE): Full-time equivalent is the proportion of a nominal full-time student in higher education that a non-full-time student is judged to constitute.

Further education: Further education is post-compulsory education at pre-degree level, which may include (the opportunity to take) qualifications also available at the level of compulsory schooling.

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 G

Globalisation: The flow of technology, knowledge, people, values, ideas, finance and trade across borders..

Governance: Governance in higher education refers to the way in which institutions are organised and operate internally and their relationships with external entities with a view to securing the objectives of higher education as a realm of enquiry and critique.

Grading: Grading is the process of scoring or ranking student academic work as part of assessing student learning.

Graduate: A graduate is someone who has successfully completed a higher education programme at least at bachelor degree level.

Guidelines: Guidelines for quality in higher education provide advice on what should be monitored and how this monitoring of quality should be carried out.

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H

Higher degree: A higher degree is an award beyond the basic-level higher education qualification.

Higher education: Higher education is usually viewed as education leading to at least a bachelor's degree or equivalent.

Higher Education Institution (HEI): See institution

Hogeschool: A non-university higher education institution, in the Netherlands and Belgium, focusing on vocational education.

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I

Impact: Impact in the context of quality in higher education refers to the consequences that the establishment of quality processes (both internal and external) has on the culture, policy, organisational framework, documentation, infrastructure, learning and teaching practices, assessment/grading of students, learning outcomes, student experience, student support, resources, learning and research environment, research outcomes and community involovement of an institution or department.

Improvement: Improvement is the process of enhancing, upgrading or enriching the quality of provision or standard of outcomes.

Indicator: An indicator is something that points to, measures or otherwise provides a summary overview of a specific concept. A set of indicators that are combined is referred to as an index.

Informal learning: Informal learning is:
1. learning that derives from activities external to a structured learning context.
2. unstructured learning within a structured learning environment.

Inspection: Inspection is the direct, independent observation and evaluation of activities and resources by a trained professional.

Institution: Institution is shorthand for institution of higher education, which is an educational institution that has students graduating at bachelor degree level or above.

Institutional accreditation: Institutional accreditation provides a licence for a university or college to operate.

Institutional audit: See external institutional audit; internal institutional audit.

Institution for higher education: See institution

Institutional outcomes: See outcomes

Institutional review: See external institutional audit; review

Interdisciplinary: Interdisciplinary refers to research or study that integrates concepts from different disciplines resulting in a synthesised or co-ordinated coherent whole.

Internal audit: See internal institutional audit, internal sub-institutional audit

Internal evaluation: Internal evaluation is a process of quality review undertaken within an institution for its own ends (with or without the involvement of external peers).

Internal institutional audit: Internal institutional audit is a process that institutions undertake for themselves to check that they have procedures in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes across the institution.

Internal sub-institutional audit: Internal sub-institutional audit is a process that an institution has for checking that procedures are in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes within a department, faculty or other operational unit or that specific issues are being complied with across the institution.

Internal quality monitoring: Internal quality monitoring (IQM) is a generic term to refer to procedures within institutions to review, evaluate, assess, audit or otherwise check, examine or ensure the quality of the education provided and/or research undertaken.

Internationalisation: in higher education is the process of developing a multilateral and multicultural learning and research environment through, for example, redesigning curricula, engaging non-local staff, encouraging students to study abroad and aatracting overseas students.

Internship: See sandwich

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J

Joint award: see Joint degee.

Joint degee: A joint degree is a single degree awarded by more than one higher education institution.

Joint programme: see Joint degee.

Junior college: See community college

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 K

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 L

Learning objective: see objective.

Learning outcome: A learning outcome is the specification of what a student should learn as the result of a period of specified and supported study.

League tables: League tables is a term used to refer to ranking of higher education institutions or programmes of study.

Level:
1. Level refers to the complexity and depth of learning.
2. Level refers to the formally designated location of a part of a study programme within the whole.

Level descriptor: A level descriptor is a statement that provides an indication of appropriate depth and extent of learning at a specific stage in the programme of study.

Licensing: Licensing is the formal granting of permission to (a) operate a new institution (b) a new programme of study (c) practice a profession (d) use an educational product (paper or online) or computer application.

Licensure: See licensing

Lifelong learning: Lifelong learning is all learning activity undertaken throughout life, whether formal or informal.


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M

Management audit: Management audit, in higher education, is a process for checking that management structures and abilities are appropriate for assuring quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes.

Master's degree: Master's degree is an award higher than a bachelor's degree.

Mobility: Mobility is shorthand for students and academics studying and working in other institutions, whether in the same country or abroad.

Mode: Mode of study refers to whether the programme is taken on a part-time or full-time basis, or through some form of work-linked learning and may include whether taken on-campus or through distance education.

Module: A module is a formal learning experience encapsulated into a unit of study, usually linked to other modules to create a programme of study.

Module specification: Module specification is statement of the aims, objectives/learning outcomes, content, learning and teaching processes, mode of assessment of students and learning resources applicable to a unit of study.

Monitoring: Monitoring has two meanings:
1. the specific process of keeping quality activities under review;
2. a generic term covering all forms of internal and external quality assurance and improvement processes including audit, assessment, accreditation and external examination.

Mutual recognition: Mutual recognition is agreement between two (or more) organisations to recognise each other's processes or programmes.

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N

New collegialism: New collegialism is a responsive approach to organisation and governance in higher education that retains control within the academy.

Non-formal learning: Non-formal learning involves a structured or semi-structured learning environment but does not lead to formalised certification.

Non-traditional students: Non-traditional students are those entrants to higher education who have population characteristics not normally associated with entrants to higher education, that is, they come from social classes, ethnic groups or age groups that are underrepresented.

Norm-referenced assessment: Norm-referenced assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students by judging (and ranking) them against the performance of their peers.

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O

Objective: An objective is:
(a) a specific statement about what students are expected to learn or to be able to do as a result of studying a programme: more specifically this is a learning objective;
(b) a measurable operationalisation of a policy, strategy or mission: this is an implementation objective.

Off-shore provision: Off-shore provision is the export of higher education programmes from one country to another.

One-level degree structure: One-level degree structure is where a single programme of study results in a final (masters-level) award.

Online programme: Online programmes are those available as distance education accessed via the Internet.

Organisational standards: Organisational standards are the specification of principles and procedures by which the institution assures that it provides an appropriate learning and research environment.

Outcomes: Outcome is:
1. shorthand for the product or endeavours of a higher education institution (or sector), including student learning and skills development, research outputs and contributions to the wider society locally or internationally (institutional outcomes).
2. shorthand for learning outcome (discussed elsewhere).

Outcomes-based approach: An outcomes-based approach to learning and teaching specifies in advance what the student should be able to do at the culmination of a programme of study.

Outputs: Outputs refers to the products of higher education institutions: including, graduates, research outcomes, community/business activities and the social critical function of academia.

Oversight: Oversight, in the quality context, refers to the process of keeping a quality process or initiative under observation, such that a person or organisation has a watching brief on developments.

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P

Peer: Peer, in the context of quality in higher education, is a person who understands the context in which a quality review is being undertaken and is able to contribute to the process.

Peer Review: Peer review is the process of evaluating the provision, work process, or output of an individual or collective who operating in the same milieu as the reviewer(s).

Perfection: Perfection is an approach to quality that emphasises the need to eliminate errors.

Performance audit: Performance audit is a check on the competence of someone to undertake a task.

Performance indicators: Performance indicators are data, usually quantitative in form, that provide a measure of some aspect of an individual's or organisation's performance against which changes in performance or the performance of others can be compared.

Performance standards: Performance standards specify the level of attainment of knowledge and other skills and attributes appropriate to the field of study.

Periodic review: Periodic review is the evaluation of an institution or its programmes on a regular cycle.

Personal Development Planning (PDP): Personal development planning is a structured and supported process to assist students in arranging their own personal educational and career progression.

Ph.D (Doctor of Philosophy): See Doctoral degree

Polytechnic: A polytechnic is a non-university higher education institution usually focusing on vocational education.

Portability: Portability (in higher education) is the ability to engage with or make use of learning in a more than one setting.

Postgraduate: A postgraduate is someone who is undertaking study at post-first degree level.

Preliminary study: Preliminary study is an initial exploration of issues related to a proposed quality review.

Prerequisite: Prerequisite is an attribute, qualification or course completion that a student must have before taking a specified course or programme of study..

Primary degree: A primary degree is the first-level, higher education qualification (often synonymous with a bachelor's degree).

Prior learning: Prior learning is previous learning from informal and formal learning situations. See Accreditation of Prior Learning

Process: Process, in the context of quality, is the set of activities, structures and guidelines that:
1. constitute the organisation's or individual's procedures for ensuring their own quality or standards.
2. constitute the mechanism for reviewing or monitoring the quality or standards of another entity.

Process standards: Process standards specify the provision that enables students to learn appropriately so that they may meet expected performance standards or or assessment requirements.

Profession: A profession is a group of people in a learned occupation, the members of which agree to abide by specified rules of conduct when practicing the occupation.

Professional accreditation: Professional accreditation is a the process (or the outcome of the process) by which a programme of study is validated by a professional or regulatory body as a programme that prepares students for registration in a regulated profession.

Professional body: A professional body is a group of people in a learned occupation who are entrusted with maintaining control or oversight of the legitimate practice of the occupation.

Professional development: See continuing professional development.

Professional programme: A professional programme is shorthand for a co-ordinated set of study elements that lead to a recognised professional qualification.

Professional recognition: Professional recognition is the formal acknowledgement of an individual's professional status and right to practice the profession in accordance with professional standards and subject to professional or regulatory controls.

Programme: Programme (or program in US/Australian English) is shorthand for a study curriculum undertaken by a student that has co-ordinated elements, which constitute a coherent named award.

Programme accreditation: Programmes accreditation establishes the academic standing of the programme or the ability of the programme to produce graduates with professional competence to practice.

Programme aims: see aim

Programme evaluation: Programme evaluation is a process of reviewing the quality or standards of a coherent set of study modules.

Programme specification: A programme (program) specification documents the aims, objectives or learning outcomes, programme content, learning and teaching methods, process and criteria for assessment, usually with indicative reading or other reference material as well as identifying the modules or subunits of the programme, setting out core and optional elements, precursors and levels.

Progress file: A progress file is an explicit record of achievement, an aid to reflecting on the achievement and a mechanism to enable future planning.

Project team: The project team is the group of people, within a quality monitoring agency, who organise and arrange the external quality process.

Provision: Provision is an all-encompassing term that refers to the learning opportunities, research and community activity offered/undertaken by an institution of higher education.

Public information: Public information, in the context of higher education, is the data and information made available to inform the public

Purpose: see rationale

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Q

Qualification: Qualification is the award to which a formal programme of study contributes.

Qualifications framework: A qualifications framework sets out all qualifications covered by the range of the framework as a hierarchy with generic descriptors of the required achievement to attain the qualification.

Qualities: Qualities are the characteristics, attributes or properties of a person, collective, object, action, process or organisation.

Quality: Quality is
1. (n) the embodiment of the essential nature of a person, collective, object, action, process or organisation.
2. (adj) means high grade or high status (as in a quality performance).
3. a shorthand, in higher education, for quality evaluation processes.

Quality assessment: See assessment

Quality assurance: See assurance

Quality audit: See audit

Quality control: Quality control is a mechanism for ensuring that an output (product or service) conforms to a predetermined specification.

Quality culture: Quality culture is a set of group values that guide how improvements are made to everyday working practices and consequent outputs.

Quality evaluation: See evaluation

Quality guidelines: See guidelines

Quality management: Quality management is the process, supported by policies and systems, used by an institution to maintain and enhance the quality of education experienced by its students and of the research undertaken by its staff.

Quality monitoring: See external quality monitoring

Quality review: See review

Quality system: A quality system is a set of integrated policies and practices that structure the management, implememtation and adaptation of quality assurance processes.

Quality standard: Quality standards are are norms, expectations or specifications that provide the basis for the assurance of quality.

Quality validation: See accreditation; validation

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R

Ranking: Ranking is a term used to refer to the rating and ordering of higher education institutions or programmes of study based on various criteria.

Rationale: Rationale in the context of quality in higher education refers to the reasons or purposes for the etsablishment of quality assurance processes.

Re-accreditation: Re-accreditation is the re-establishment or re-statement (usually on a fixed periodic cycle) of the status, legitimacy or appropriateness of an institution, programme (i.e. composite of modules) or module of study or of the professional recognition of an individual.

Reciprocity: Reciprocity is the acceptance by one agency of the outcomes of a quality process conducted by another agency.

Recognised bodies:

Recognition: Recognition is the formal acknowledgement of the status of an organisation, institution or programme.

Recognition of prior learning: Recognition of prior learning is formal acknowledgement of previous learning, from informal as well as formal learning situations.

Regional accreditation: Regional accreditation is recognition of an institution within a regional context: it is much the same as national accreditation but is not restricted to national boundaries.

Registration: Registration is 1. the process of enrolment on a programme of study or course. 2. becoming recognised as a legitimate professional in a regulated profession

Regulatory body: A regulatory body, in the context of higher education, is an external organisation that has been empowered by legislation to oversee and control the educational process and outputs germane to it.

Relative standard: A relative standard is one that adjusts the specification for each level of pass or success depending on the performance of the student cohort.

Report: Report (n.) is the documented outcome or results of an evaluation process.

Research assessment exercise (RAE): The RAE is a process, in the UK and Hong Kong, that assesses the quality of research to enable the higher education funding bodies to distribute public funds on the basis of research quality ratings.

Review:
1. Review is generic term for any process that explores the quality of higher education.
2. Review refers to explorations of quality that do not result in judgements or decisions.

Review team: The review team is the group of people undertaking a quality monitoring or evaluation process.

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S

Sandwich: A sandwich programme is one that has a significant period of work experience built into it such that the programme is extended beyond the normal length of similar programmes without the sandwich element.

Self-accreditation: Self-accreditation is a process or status that implies a degree of autonomy, on the part of an institution or individual, to make decisions about academic offerings or learning.

Self-assessment: Self-assessment is the process of critically reviewing the quality of ones own performance and provision.

Self-evaluation: See self-assessment

Self-study: See self-assessment

Semester: A semester is a division of the academic year; usually two semesters in a year.

Seminar: A seminar is, ideally, a small-group teaching situation in which a subject is discussed, in depth, by the participants.

Service standards: Service standard in education are specifications of the teaching, facilities, guidance and support provided by an institution.

Site visit: A site visit is is when an external evaluation team goes to an institution to evaluate verbal, written and visual evidence.

Skill: Skill is the ability to perform a task adeptly, using experience and professional knowledge.

Sophister: Sophister refers to undergraduates on their penultimate (junior) or final (senior) year of study.

Specialized accreditation: Specialized accreditation refers to any accreditation process that relates to specific discipline areas.

Staff: Staff refers to those people who work in educational institutions.

Stakeholder: A stakeholder is a person (or group) that has an interest in the activities of an institution or organisation.

Standards: Standard is both: 1. a fixed criterion against which an outcome can be compared; 2 a level of attainment.

Standards monitoring: Standards monitoring is any process that checks the attainment and abilities of students or the provision and conduct of an institution.

Standards of competence: Standards of competence specify the technical abilities, knowledg and skills required to become a safe and accomplished exponent of a particular profession or other field of activity.

Statistical indicators: Statistical indicators are any quantitative data that provide evidence about the quality or standard of higher education.

Student evaluation: Student evaluation has two meanings:
1. student evaluation is an assessment by learners of the service provided by the institution, be it solely of the classroom experience or of all aspects of the learning experience.
2. in some countries, such as the United States, 'student evaluation' has the same meaning as assessment of students' learning

Student experience: The student experience is primarily the nature of the enagagement of students with learning and teaching however it may also include other aspects that impinge on learning some of which are the responsibility of higher education institutions.

Sub-institutional audit: See external sub-institutional audit; internal sub-institutional audit

Subject assessment: Subject assessment refers to quality assurance process that focuses on a subject or disciple and examines it in detail.

Subject evaluation : Subject evaluation is the review, at the level of a specified academic (sub)discipline, of the teaching, learning and assessment processes (and the support infrastructure).

Substantial equivalency: Substantial equivalency is a term used in the US to indicate that an overseas programme is essentially the same as a US programme of study.

Summative assessment: Summative assessment is the process of evaluating (and grading) the learning of students at a point in time.

Syllabus: A syllabus specifies the aims, objectives or projected outcomes, content, mode of delivery, chronology and form and weighting of assessment of a course or unit of study and as such makes the lerning process transparent to the student.

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T

Technikon: A technikon is a non-university higher education institution, in South Africa, focusing on vocational education.

Tertiary education: Tertiary education is formal, non-compulsory, education that follows secondary education.

Thematic evaluation: A thematic evaluation is a review of a particular aspect of quality or standards focusing on an experience, practice or resource that cuts across programmes or institutions.

Thesis: Thesis is:
1. short hand for doctoral thesis, the outcome of a student research at doctoral level.
2. an argument proposing and developing a theory about a substantive or conceptual issue.
3. an intellectual proposition.

Threshold: The minimum expectations of student performance for the achievement of, or of programme content for, a particular qualification or award.

Total student experience: Total student experience refers to all aspects of the engagement of students with higher education.

Transcript: A transcript is a printed or electronic record of student achievement while in higher education.

Transferable skills: Transferable skills are attributes developed in one setting that can be applied in another.

Transferability: See credit transfer

Transformation: Transformation is the process of changing from onr qualitative state to another.

Transnational education: Transnational education is higher education provision that is available in more than one country.

Transparency: Transparency is making activities and services clear and easily understood and open to scrutiny and challengeable.

Tuning: Tuning, in the context of quality in higher education, refers to the process in Europe of adjusting degree provision so that there are points of similarity across the European Higher Education Area.

Two-cycle system: See bachelor-master's


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U

Undergraduate: Undergraduate is a student who is undertaking a first-level degree programme of study, normally a bachelor's degree or equivalent.

Unit: Unit has two meanings in the context of quality in higher education, one as subject and one as object of quality review.
1. unit is the generic name for a quality monitoring department internal to an institution.
2. unit is any element that is the subject of quality review: institution, subject area, faculty, department or programme of study.

Unitary system: Unitary system is one that has higher education located in a single type of institution.

University: University is an institution of higher education that grants its own degrees including the award of Ph.D and normally undertakes leading-edge research, as well as having a social critical role.

Unwrapping: Unwrapping refers to the process of making transparent what students need to learn, be able to do or understand when achieving a specified learning goal.

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V

Validation: Validation is a process of confirming that an existing programme of study or a newly designed one can continue or commence operation.

Value added: Value added is the enhancement that students achieve (to knowledge, skills abilities and other attributes) as a result of their higher education experience.

Value for money: Value for money assesses the cost of a product or service against the quality of provision.

Vocational education and training (VET): Vocational education and training is any formal, post-compulsory education that develops knowledge, skills and attributes linked to particular forms of eemployment, although in some interpretations this would exclude professional education.

Virtual education: Virtual education is delivered, usually via information technology networks, without restricting the learner in space or time.

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W

Widening access: See access

Work-based learning: Work-based learning refers to any formal higher education learning that is based wholly or predominantly in a work setting.

Work experience: Work experience is the linking of a period of activity in a work setting (whether paid or voluntary) to the programme of study, irrespective of whether the work experience is an integral part of the programme of study.

Work-integrated learning: Work-integrated learning allows students to combine learning in a higher education institution with learning in (or related to) an external work setting.

Work-related learning: Work-related learning refers to any formal higher education learning that includes a period of learning that takes place in a work setting or involves activities linked to a work setting.

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X

 

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Y

 

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Z

Zero defects: see perfection

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REFERENCES:

My thanks to all those who have written to suggest amendments to some of the definitions, including:

Terry Miosi

Anne Michaux

Renea H. Eshleman