Analytic Quality Glossary
Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-20, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/glossary/
This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 31 October, 2020 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2020.
Efficiency is the extent to which an activity achieves its goal whilst minimising resource usage.
Fraser (1994, p. 104) defined it thus:
Efficiency. This is a measure of the resources used (costs) to achieve stated goals. It is unfortunate that governments frequently confuse quality in higher education with efficiency. Low-standard goals might well be achieved at low cost. (Fraser, 1994, p. 104)
Erlendsson (2002) defines efficiency as:
performing tasks with reasonable effort (‘doing things the right way’)
The UNESCO definition is:
Efficiency (educational): An ability to perform well or to achieve a result without wasted resources, effort, time, or money (using the smallest quantity of resources possible). Educational efficiency can be measured in physical terms (technical efficiency) or in terms of cost (economic efficiency). Greater educational efficiency is achieved when the same amount and standard of educational services are produced at a lower cost, if a more useful educational activity is substituted for a less useful one at the same cost, or if unnecessary educational activities are eliminated. A programme or a higher education institution may be efficiently managed, but not effective in achieving its mission, goals, or objectives. (Vlãsceanu et al., 2004, p. 38)
Thursby (2000, p. 400) analysed the efficiency of the Economics Research Departments in the United States. He defined efficiency as follows:
a department is deemed technically efficient if, when compared to departments with similar level of inputs, it could produce greater research outputs without increasing its inputs usage, or equivalently, it is one which, compared to departments with similar levels of outputs, could produce the current levels of outputs with fewer inputs.
Wojtczak (2002) defines efficiency in the context of medial education:
Efficiency: An ability to perform well or achieve a result without wasted energy, resources, effort, time or money. Efficiency can be measured in physical terms (technical efficiency) or terms of cost (economic efficiency). Greater efficiency is achieved where the same amount and standard of services are produced for a lower cost, if a more useful activity is substituted for a less useful one at the same cost or if needless activities are eliminated.
Efficiency is often used conterminously with value for money, although monetary value is only one aspect of efficiency. The confusion of quality with efficiency arises by using the value-for-money definition of quality.
Erlendsson, J., 2002, Value For Money Studies in Higher Education http://www.hi.is/~joner/eaps/wh_vfmhe.htm accessed 4 January 2002 , not available at this address 4 February 2011.
, not available at this address 4 February 2011.
Fraser, M., 1994, ‘Quality in higher education: an international perspective’ in Green, D. (Ed.), 1994, What is Quality in Higher Education? pp. 101–111 (Buckingham, Open University press and Society for Research into Higher Education).
Thursby, J. G., 2000, 'What Do We Say about Ourselves and What Does It Mean? Yet Another Look at Economics Department Research', Journal of Economic Literature, 38, p. 383.
Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2004, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (Bucharest, UNESCO-CEPES) Papers on Higher Education, ISBN 92-9069-178-6.
Wojtczak, A., 2002, Glossary of Medical Education Terms, http://www.iime.org/glossary.htm, December, 2000, Revised February 2002, accessed 2 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.
copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2019
copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2019