QAA put on notice

by Mark Leach October 7, 2014

Some very big news from HEFCE out today. “The higher education (HE) funding bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are to seek views on future approaches to the assessment of quality in higher education. Based on the feedback we receive, we will then invite tenders under a joint procurement exercise. This will ensure transparency and demonstrate value for money.”

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Quality enhancement at a crossroads

by Robin Middlehurst July 1, 2014

The Higher Education Academy’s Annual Conference this week signals its tenth year as the UK’s quality enhancement agency for teaching and learning. The focus of the conference is ‘Preparing for learning futures’ over the next decade. Given significant cuts to the Academy’s budget over the next two years, the conference focus will likely be as much about the HEA’s future as about the learning futures in the title. In this piece, Robin Middlehurst looks at the important challenges now faced by the Academy, sector and Government and presents the key choices that now need to made.

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No logo

by Emily Collins August 2, 2012

Yesterday QAA announced it would be lending its previously protected logo to higher education institutions with a ‘confidence’ judgement, or those that had sufficiently changed their practices in response to a ‘limited confidence’ judgement. Anthony McClaran, chief executive of QAA is reported in Times Higher Education as saying such a mark will ‘improve public understanding of standards and quality in higher education’. I would like to question this assertion, along with the overall scheme.

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We need to talk about credit

by Mark Leach October 28, 2011

In 2007, The Burgess Review declared the current honours system ‘not fit for purpose’. Designed long ago when a tiny number of institutions were awarding a tiny number of degrees, its use in 2011 looks at best to be a very odd anachronism and at worst; a dangerously out of date and inappropriate way of measuring and awarding student achievement. The summative nature of the honours system is seen as the main offender and no longer appropriate for a modern higher education sector. Despite years of work on this, Professor Burgess was always going to have an uphill struggle convincing people to abandon the system that although flawed, remains familiar to institutions.

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Keeping High Standards in Higher Education

by Newell February 11, 2011

In a knowledge management context, higher education and standardisation have a number of similarities. Both a university and a national standards body (NSB) should be seen as vital resources to the national economy; houses of creation for the country’s social knowledge. Economically, their activities bring £59bn (UUK, 2010) and £2.5bn (Swann, 2010) to the UK […]

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All a matter of context

by Derfel Owen February 4, 2011

I interviewed Professor Steven Schwartz for the QAA podcast series this week (you can listen here ). We roamed around a number of issues and topics including his very influential report into higher education admissions in 2004 and he touched on an important issue that has reared it’s head again – information for students. He […]

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Watch out for generation Y

by Derfel Owen February 1, 2011

Big changes are about to take place in UK higher education in response to the government’s plans to reform higher education funding, shifting the cost from government grants to student fees. Universities and agencies like QAA are thinking very seriously about how this will affect our relationship with students.

There is another challenge emerging though that I believe will have an equally profound effect on higher education, as well as providing great opportunities, and that is the arrival of Generation Y.

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