INQAAHE (undated) CLARIFICATION AND GLOSSARYwww.inqaahe.nl/public/docs/definities.doc

 

ANNEX

 

CLARIFICATION AND GLOSSARY

 

1.CLARIFICATION OF SOME TERMS

 

Introduction

 

Collecting information about Quality assurance agencies in astandardised way makes it necessary to clarify some of the terms used in thequestionnaire. Definition of terms and description of concepts is not an easy task. This is caused by severalreasons:

       Many countries have to cope with the need totranslate the terms in English. There are problems with the translation,because the term in ones own language often has a slightly different meaningthan the English word;

       The meaning is often fixed by the culturalcontext. Even in the English speaking parts of the world the same words may havea different meaning.

       Each agency has often its own jargon,originating from its national context.

 

The glossary so far is not based on a general agreement between expertsin the field. Based on the discussion of the first drafts of the questionnaireand based on the comments on the description of terms, a decision for a certaindescription or definition has been made. You are asked to complete thequestionnaire, using the meaning of the terms as defined as far as possible.

 

The terms, used in the questionnaire and defined in this glossary aremarked  in italic. You can use the boxes in thequestionnaire to include your own comments if you are using the terminologyin  a total different way. 

 

Section I, page 1

 

External Quality Assurance Agency (EQA-agency)

 

The object of this survey is the External Quality Assurance agency, alsoreferred to as EQA-agency. An EQA-agency meets the following criteria:

      Itconcerns external quality assurance.This means that the agency is acting outside the institutions of HigherEducation HEI. Evaluation by an organisation or entity inside an HEI and aimingat quality assurance inside the institution,  is not to be seen as an external quality assurance activity.

       It concerns activities like evaluation, review, audit, assessment or accreditation

       Those activities belong to the main tasks of the agency

       Are done on a regular basis

       The agency is recognised at national or regional level as being in charge withthe above mentioned activities.

 

The definition excludes:

       QA-organisations inside an HEI

       Agencies, supervising EQA-agencies and notactively or on a regular base involved in the above mentioned activities

       Ad hoc validation or assessment like done by auniversity validating programmes in an other country.

 

 

Evaluation or Review

 

Evaluation (also called review) is used as the general description ofthe activity of an EQA-agency for collecting data, information and evidenceabout the quality of an institution, the quality of parts of an institution orthe quality of its core activities: education and/or research.

 

Audit

 

Audit is the evaluation or review of procedures, processes and mechanismin an HEI or a part of an HEI (e.g. school of Medicine, school of Business& Management). Not quality itself is subject of review, but  procedures and mechanism to assure thequality and the processes to achieve the mission and goals. A distinction ismade between a quality audit and a management audit.

 

 A quality audit evaluatesespecially the procedures and processes for the assurance of the quality. Themain assumption is that if QA-procedures are in place, one may expect that HEIwill deliver quality.

 

A management audit looks also atgeneral management, general policy and policy making. 

 

As soon as the quality of the core activities (educational activitiesand research outcomes) are judged too, it is called  institutional assessment.

 

Assessment

 

Assessment is the evaluation of the quality itself. Assessment  tries to collect data, information andevidence of the quality of the HEI as a whole (institutional assessment)  or its core activities (education,research and community service) separately (program assessment). It goes beyond qualityprocedures (although it will be included) and tries to judge the quality ofinput, process and output.

 

Assessment does not necessarily lead to a formal accreditation decision.However, formal accreditation needs to be based on assessment.

 

Accreditation

 

Accreditation is applicable both for an  institution as a whole and for a programme. It is very difficult todefine accreditation, because the concept is changing by the day. Although theterminology nowadays is imported into Europe too, the meaning there differsfrom the meaning of the term in the US, just as the role accreditation playsdiffers. In stead of a definition, some characteristics of accreditation are given:

       Accreditation is a formal decision

       Accreditation is based on an overall assessment of the HEI or itscore activities

       Accreditation is based on the assessment of atleast minimum requirements(threshold quality)

       Accreditation concerns a yes/no/conditional decision

       Accreditation will have consequences, forexample

-      In the professional field

-      Concerning recognition

-      Concerning funding

-      Concerning student aid

 

Accreditation might beseen as providing a formal quality certificate to an HEI or a program showingthat the HEI or the program meets at least expected minimum requirements. 

 

 

 

Institution for Higher Education (HEI)

 

Talking about institution it concerns an institution for Higher Education,also shortened as HEI. In some cases it might not concern an HEI as a whole,but a part of it (for example a School or Department)

 

Section I, page 3, question 1.4

 

Oversight and control

 

Oversight, also called control or meta-evaluation concerns the questionwho is controlling the agency? Who is evaluating the activities of the agency?Is there an authority who evaluate the evaluations (meta-evaluation)?

 

Section I, page 4, question 1.5

 

Program, subject area, discipline

 

Many agencies are assessing one of the core-activities of an HEI: theeducational activities. The object of the assessment often is a program leadingto a certain degree. Such program assessment also might be called theassessment of a subject area or a discipline. The main future is that theassessment is subject specific: e.g. assessment of history, biology, economy.

 

Section II, page 5, question II.1

 

Quality audit, management audit,assessment see aboveunder Audit

 

 

Section II, page 6, question II.5and Section III, page13, question III.4 and III.5

 

Standards and criteria

 

Standards and criteria belong to the most confusing terms. In the USthere is often no difference made between standards and criteria, while inEurope standards are becoming more and more distinct from criteria. For thequestionnaire a clear distinction has been made between those two words.

       Standards are seen as the expected outcomes of the educational training. It concerns theknowledge, skills, attitudes (= competencies) that are expected from thegraduates. This concerns both general standards (qualifications for a Bachelorand Master) and specific subject standards.

       Criteria are seen as the checkpoints, the benchmark forassessing the quality of the input and process.  Auditing or assessing the HEI as a whole it concerns thebenchmark to check the quality procedures and the performance of the HEI as awhole.

 

 

Section II, page 8, question II.9and Section III, page 17, question III.8

 

External evaluation team

 

The external evaluation team ( also called expert committee, visitingteam, peer review team, academic peer review team) is  the group of experts, invited by the agency to do the auditor assessment. They are independent experts fromacademia and/or the professionalworld, judging the quality. Sometimes it includes other members (e.g. student)too.

 

2. GLOASSARY

 

 

Accreditation (Accreditation isapplicable both for an  institutionas a whole and for a programme)

It is very difficult to define accreditation,because the concept is changing by the day. Although the terminology nowadaysis imported into Europe too, the meaning there differs from the meaning of theterm in the US, just as the role accreditation is playing differs. In stead ofa definition,  some characteristicsof accreditation are given:

       Accreditation is a formal decision

       Accreditation is based on an overall assessment of the HEI or itscore activities

       Accreditation is based on the assessment of atleast minimum requirements(threshold quality)

       Accreditation concerns a yes/no/conditional decision

       Accreditation will have consequences, forexample

-     In the professional field

-     Concerning recognition

-     Concerning funding

-     Concerning student aid

 

Accreditation might be seen as providing aformal quality certificate to an HEI or a program showing that the HEI or theprogram meets at least expected minimum requirements.

 

Assessment

Assessment is the evaluation of the qualityitself. Assessment  tries tocollect data, information and evidence of the quality of the HEI as a whole (institutionalassessment)  or its coreactivities (education, research and community service) separately (program assessment).It goes beyond quality procedures (although it will be included) andtries to judge the quality of input, process and output.

 

Assessment does not necessary lead to a formalaccreditation decision. However, formal accreditation need to be based onassessment

 

Audit

Audit is the evaluation or review ofprocedures, processes and mechanism in an HEI or a part of an HEI (e.g. schoolof Medicine, school of Business & Management). Not quality itself issubject of review, but  proceduresand mechanism to assure the quality and the processes to achieve the missionand goals. A distinction is made between a quality audit and a management audit.

 

 A quality audit evaluates especially the proceduresand processes for the assurance of the quality. The main assumption is that ifQA-procedures are in place, one may expect that HEI will deliver quality.

 

A management audit looks also at general management,general policy and policy making. 

 

As soon as the quality of the core activities(educational activities and research outcomes) are judged  too, it is called  institutional assessment.

 

 

 

Control see Oversight

 

 

Criteria

Criteria are seen as the checkpoints, thebenchmark for assessing the quality of the input and process.  Auditing or assessing the HEI as awhole it concerns the benchmark to check the quality procedures and theperformance of the HEI as a whole. See also Standards

 

 

Discipline see Program assessment

 

 

External Quality Assurance Agency (EQA-agency)

 

The object of this survey is the ExternalQuality Assurance agency, also referred to as EQA-agency. An EQA-agency meetsthe following criteria:

      Itconcerns external quality assurance.This means that the agency is acting outside the institutions of HigherEducation HEI. Evaluation by an organisation or entity inside an HEI and aimingat quality assurance inside the institution,  is not to be seen as an external quality assurance activity.

       It concerns activities like evaluation, review, audit, assessment or accreditation

       Those activities belong to the main tasks of the agency

       Are done on a regular base

       The agency is recognised at national or regional level as being charged with theabove mentioned activities.

 

The definition excludes:

       QA-organisations inside an HEI

       Agencies, supervising EQA-agencies and notactively or on a regular base involved in the above mentioned activities

       Ad hoc validation or assessment like e.g. doneby a university validating programmes in an other country.

 

Evaluation

Evaluation (also called review) is used as thegeneral description of the activity of an EQA-agency for collecting data,information and evidence about the quality of an institution, the quality ofparts of an institution or the quality of its core activities: education and/orresearch.

 

External evaluation team

 

The external evaluation team (also called expert committee, visiting team, peer review team, academic peerreview team) is  the group ofexperts, invited by the agency to do the audit or assessment. They areindependent experts from academia and/or the professional world, judging thequality. Sometimes it includes other members (e.g. student) too.

 

 

 

Institution for Higher Education (HEI)

 

Talking about institution, it concerns aninstitution for Higher Education, shortened as HEI. In some cases it might notconcern an HEI as a whole, but a part of it (for example a School orDepartment)

 

Managementaudit  see  Audit

 
Oversight

Oversight, also called control or meta-evaluationconcerns the question who is controlling the agency? Who is evaluating theactivities of the agency? Is there an authority who evaluate the evaluations(meta-evaluation)?

 

 

Program assessment

Many agencies are assessing one of thecore-activities of an HEI, the educational activities. The object of theassessment often is a program leading to a certain degree. Such programassessment also might be called the assessment of a subject area or adiscipline. The main future is that the assessment is subject specific: e.g.assessment of history, biology, economy.

 

 

Quality audit  see  Audit

 

 

Review  see Evaluation

 

 

Review committee  see external evaluation team

 

 

Standards

Standards are seen as the expected outcomes of the educational training. It concerns theknowledge, skills, attitudes (= competencies) that are expected from thegraduates. This concerns both general standards (qualifications for a Bachelorand Master) and specific subject standards. (see also under Criteria)

 

 

 

Subject area see Program assessment

 


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