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.


Novel Recipes



Standards monitoring

core definition

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

explanatory context

Standards monitoring may be concerned with assessing whether the academic achievement of students is at a sufficient level, or that students have achieved a level of competence required to begin practicing a profssion. Standards monitoring may, alternatively, focus on institutional provision to check whether the service provided to students (for example, teaching and facilities) is appropriate or it may examine the organisational standards of an institution.


In some countries academic standards monitoring is done via the external examiner system.

analytical review

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (undated) provides a useful statement of standards monitoring:

Monitoring is an intermittent (regular or irregular) series of observations in time, carried out to show the extent of compliance with a formulated standard or degree of deviation from an expected norm.

In line with this definition, we need to define the state desired in terms of objectives or targets, and then undertake monitoring to assess whether these objectives are being met.

Monitoring, in the sense used here, is distinct from surveillance, which is repeated survey using a standard methodology undertaken to provide a series of observations over time. Surveillance can yield valuable information on trends in the state of biodiversity and Earth science, but does not by itself establish whether objectives or standards have been met.

Harvey (1998) provided a rather more limited definition:

Standards monitoring: The use of external examiners to monitor standards on postgraduate or undergraduate degrees in the UK, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand, Malaysia, Brunei, India, Malawi, Hong Kong and in the technikons in South Africa.

This is subsequently broadened in Harvey (2002).

associated issues

related areas

See also



external examiner


oranisational standards

professional body

professional recognition


standards of competence


Harvey, L., 1998, 'An assessment of past and current approaches to quality in higher education', Australian Journal of Education, 42(3), pp. 23755, a final draft version is available here as a pdf

Harvey, L., 2002, ‘Quality assurance in higher education: some international trends'  Higher Education Conference, Oslo, 22–23 January 2002. Final draft available here, the paper subsequently adapted and published as Harvey, L., 2005, ‘Quality assurance in higher education: some international trends’ in Wietse de Vries (coord.) Calidad, eficiencia y evaluación de la educación superior, Netbiblo-Riseu, La Coruña, España. ISBN 8497450302

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (undated) What is monitoring?, available at, accessed 28 July 2012, still available 11 January 2017.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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