Analytic Quality Glossary

 

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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-17, 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 12 January, 2017 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2017.

 

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Validation


core definition

Validation is a process of confirming that an existing programme of study or a newly designed one can continue or commence operation.


explanatory context

In some settings there is little or no difference between validation and accreditation (see for example the Hungarian definition below)


analytical review

The Hungarian Higher Education Act (2000 amendment) states:

Quality validation (accreditation): the procedure conducted by the Hungarian Accreditation  Committee by which — in the framework of institutional and programme accreditation — it  examines whether the educational and scientific activity conducted in the higher education institution, and the professional and infrastructural level of the educational programmes, and the personal and organisational conditions of the institution comply with  the accreditation requirements prepared and published by the HAC. (Szanto, 2003)

 

There has been some disagreement, in the past, as to whether validation is an autonomous activity of universities or involves some external process. Fraser (1994):

The process of approving a new programme, or allowing an existing programme to continue, is described as validation. It is a check that predefined, minimum standards will be (new programme), or are (existing programme) reached. Most universities take responsibility for approving their own programmes and do not involve external agencies or even external individual peer reviewers. Exceptions are the ‘non-university’ institutions in some countries (Hong Kong, Republic of South Africa, United Kingdom) (Fraser, 1994, p. 107)

 

The Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) (2002), on the other hand states:

Validation: Independent review of a self-assessment process by an outside quality assurance structure. Validation usually applies at the program level. (U.K.) The process by which an institution with degree-awarding powers judges that a program developed and delivered by another institution or organization is of an appropriate quality and standard to offer its program.

 

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE, undated), in essence, resolves this as it defines validation as:

The process by which a course is judged to have met the requirements for an award by the relevant degree-awarding body, or the relevant examining body, or by an accredited institution on behalf of that degree-awarding body.

This definition amended (HEFCE, undated), when accessed 31 December 2016, to:

In the higher education context, a validation relationship occurs when a degree-awarding provider assesses a course delivered by another provider and approves it as being of an appropriate standard and quality to contribute, or lead, to one of the degree awarding providerís awards. Students normally have a direct contractual relationship with the provider delivering the course, not the institution that validated it.


The appropriate awarding body can be the institution itself, thus the definition allows for internal and external processes.

The UNESCO definition is similar:

Validation: The process by which a programme is judged to have met the requirements for an award by a relevant institution with degree-awarding powers (institutional self-evaluation) or by a relevant examining board (validation by an outside examining body). (Vlãsceanu, et al., 2004)

 
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (2010, p. 84) states:

Validation: a process by which an awarding institution judges a module or programme developed and delivered by another institution or organisation and approves it as of an appropriate standard and quality to contribute, or lead, to one of its awards. Students normally have a direct contractual relationship with the partner institution.

The more recent QAA (undated) Glossary has a different slant:

Validation: A term used by some degree-awarding bodies to mean programme approval.


The confusion about validation is partly accounted for by the degree to which validation overlaps with accreditation. In Fraser’s account, validation is an internal matter for autonomous institutions, those non-University exceptions that require external validation are, in effect, non-autonomous.

 

In attempting to distinguish internal validation from external approval or accreditation, Harvey (2003), proposed that:

Validation is the internal acknowledgement of the establishment and legitimacy of a programme. In some countries, such as the UK, the introduction of new programmes of study and new component modules in some areas, such as social science, is solely an internal process. In others, new programmes require external approval, from an agency or government department and if they are in ‘professional’ areas they may need additional accreditation.

The confusion is compounded, in the UK, by professional bodies, in some cases. Delegating accreditation procedures to institutional validation processes, which are predominately internal but usually have external advisors or reviewers.


The Manual of the University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB) of Dubai (2012, p. 6) refers to programme validation (which it distinguishes from programme accreditation) and defines it as:

Programme validation: A process of external quality assurance undertaken by UQAIB, which provides assurance to the public that a programme offered in the Free Zone is equivalent to the same programme offered in its place-of-origin. It is a comparable but different process to programme accreditation.


associated issues

Revalidation

Revalidation is the formal renewal of the acknowledgement of the establishment and legitimacy of a programme.


Most institutions have processes for periodic review of existing programmes of study and of their constituent modules. This process may be linked to external accreditation but is often an internal process within permitted parameters and, usually, conforming to explicit guidelines.


Validation and evaluation

Szanto (2003) writes:

Concerning the interrelations of concepts, it is interesting to note that there is no explicit link between “evaluation” and “validation” on the conceptual level. In accreditation practice, however, there is a strong connection between the two: validation is based on evaluation, though the emphasis in the latter is not on “objectives” but on the “system of indicators” which are more or less identical with the “accreditation requirements” mentioned in the definition of  validation. With the development and strengthening of inner institutional QA systems and activities, and with the HAC’s focus-shift from control towards improvement, evaluation of institutional activities and outcomes of teaching and learning against objectives will certainly gain more ground.  


related areas

See also

accreditation

approval

programme evaluation


Sources

Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2001, Glossary of Key Terms in Quality Assurance and Accreditation http://www.chea.org/international/inter_glossary01.html, last updated 23 October 2002, accessed 18 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

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)

Harvey, L., 2004, ‘The power of accreditation: views of academics’, Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management, 26 (2), pp. 207–223. Pre-proof version here.

Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), undated, Glossary, available at http://www.hefce.ac.uk/glossary/, this is a new address, the original page was last updated 8 November 2010 but the new page is undated, accessed 29 August 2012, still available 11 January 2017.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), 2010, Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education. Collaborative provision and flexible and distributed learning (including e-learning) Amplified version October 2010, available at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/Publications/InformationAndGuidance/Pages/Code-of-practice-section-2.aspx, accessed 11 September 2012, page not available 11 January 2017.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), undated, Glossary, available at http://www.qaa.ac.uk/about-us/glossary?Category=U-Z, accessed 11 January 2017.

Szanto, T.R., 2003, ‘Hungary – Higher Education' in Educational Evaluation  around the World  An International Anthology p. 103 ff (Copenhagen, The Danish  Evaluation Institute) ISBN 87-7958-132-3.

University Quality Assurance International Board (UQAIB) [of Dubai], 2012, Quality Assurance Manual, version 1.6, June 2012.

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, available at http://www.aic.lv/bolona/Bologna/contrib/UNESCO/QA&A%20Glossary.pdf, accessed 20 September 2012, still available 11 January 2017.


copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2017



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