Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, 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 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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Internal evaluational accreditation

core definition

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

explanatory context

Internal review is something an institution does for its own purposes. From an external agency perspective, internal review is seen as the part of the external process that an institution undertakes in preparation for an external event, such as a peer-review, site visit. In such circumstances, internal review tends to be conflated with self-evaluation.


Internal review is synonomous with the first part of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ENQA, 2005), entitled "Part 1: European standards and guidelines for internal quality assurance within higher education institutions". The document claims:

What is proposed in the internal quality assurance standards will be challenging for some higher education institutions, especially where there is a new and developing tradition of quality assurance or where the focus on students’ needs and their preparation to enter the employment market is not embedded in the institutional culture. (ENQA, 2005, p. 34).

In summary, ENQA list the following:

Part 1: European standards and guidelines for internal quality assurance within higher education institutions
1.1 Policy and procedures for quality assurance: Institutions should have a policy and associated procedures for the assurance of the quality and standards of their programmes and awards. They should also commit themselves explicitly to the development of a culture which recognises the importance of quality, and quality assurance, in their work. To achieve this, institutions should de- velop and implement a strategy for the continuous enhancement of quality. The strategy, policy and procedures should have a formal status and be publicly available. They should also include a role for students and other stakeholders.
1.2 Approval, monitoring and periodic review of programmes and awards: Institutions should have formal mechanisms for the approval, periodic review and monitoring of their programmes and awards.

1.3 Assessment of students: Students should be assessed using published criteria, regulations and procedures which are applied consistently.

1.4 Quality assurance of teaching staff: Institutions should have ways of satisfying themselves that staff involved with the teaching of students are qualified and competent to do so. They should be available to those undertaking external reviews, and commented upon in reports.

1.5 Learning resources and student support: Institutions should ensure that the resources available for the support of student learning are adequate and appropriate for each programme offered.

1.6 Information systems: Institutions should ensure that they collect, analyse and use relevant information for the effective management of their programmes of study and other activities.

1.7 Public information: Institutions should regularly publish up to date, impartial and objective information, both quantitative and qualitative, about the programmes and awards they are offering.

analytical review

There is a tendency in the literature to equate internal evaluation with self-evaluation. In some contexts they are the same as 'internal evaluation' is a shorthand for self-evalaution document or process.

Internal evaluation: Same as self-evaluation, done by a unit as a form of quality management or in preparation for external evaluation. (Campbell  & Rozsnyai, 2002)

Internal Evaluation/Self-Evaluation: The process of self-evaluation consists of the systematic collection of administrative data, the questioning of students and graduates, and the holding of moderated interviews with lecturers and students, resulting in a self-study report. Self-evaluation is basically a collective institutional reflection and an opportunity for quality enhancement. The resulting report further serves as a provider of information for the review team in charge of the external evaluation. (Vlãsceanu, 2004, p. 38)


However, the two terms are distinct.  A self–evaluation is a self-reflective process. An internal evaluation is an internal review process which may be undertaken by an individual or team external to the unit under review. Or the internal team may be reviewing itself (not quite the same as a self-assessment) with the aid of external experts who participate in the internal review process. It may be that an internal evaluation, undertaken by an individual or a team external to the internal group/programme being reviewed, requires a self-evaluation as a contributing document to the review process. Thus internal evaluation process is distinct from self-evaluation or self-assessment.

associated issues

related areas

See also


internal audit



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.

ENQA 2005, Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area, Helsinki, ENQA. The ESG has now been updated and the 2015 version can be found at, accessed 26 June 2019.

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 2004–2021

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