Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


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External evaluation

core definition

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.

explanatory context

Meaning 1 of external evaluation is virtually the same as the generic term external quality monitoring. The only difference is that external evaluation may imply some form of explicit summative judgement where external quality monitoring is more all-encompassing and includes any form of external review.

analytical review

An example of the generic use is:

‘External Evaluation’ is used here as an umbrella term for all forms of quality monitoring, assessment, audit, enhancement legitimation, endorsement or accreditation. (Harvey, 2002, p. 1)


The generic approach is also implied by the following:

External evaluation: Evaluation of the quality of a unit carried out by a selected team of experts who are not connected to the unit evaluated. (Campbell & Rozsnyai, 2002, p. 132)


The UNESCO definition implies a judgemental process:

External Evaluation: The process whereby a specialized agency collects data, information, and evidence about an institution, a particular unit of a given institution, or a core activity of an institution, in order to make a statement about its quality. External evaluation is carried out by a team of external experts, peers, or inspectors, and usually requires three distinct operations:

i. analysis of the self-study report;

ii. a site visit;

iii. the drafting of an evaluation report. (Vlãsceanu, 2004, pp. 37–38)

associated issues

related areas

See also



external quality monitoring


Campbell, C. & Rozsnyai, C., 2002, Quality Assurance and the Development of Course Programmes. Papers on Higher Education Regional University Network on Governance and Management of Higher Education in South East Europe Bucharest, UNESCO.

Harvey, L., 2002, ‘Quality assurance in higher education: some international trends’  Higher Education Conference, Oslo, 22–23 January 2002, paper available as a pdf here.

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.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

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