University standards checks overhaul

The BBC is reporting that a major overhaul is being proposed of the way in which standards are protected in universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland…

…The proposals are intended to move away from a “process-driven”, tick-box approach to checking standards in universities.

Instead, there would be less emphasis on regular external institutional reviews and more focus on “outcomes” affecting students, such as drop-out rates, feedback from the National Student Survey and graduates’ employment prospects.

It would mean that established universities might not face the type of review carried out by the higher education watchdog, the Quality Assurance Agency.

The risk-based approach would mean that more attention would be focused on newer, less-established providers – or in cases where particular concerns had been raised.

Dame Shirley Pearce, who chaired the steering group, said there needed to be a quality assessment system that “pays greater attention to outcomes rather than process, is risk-based rather than formulaic”…

The Russell Group of leading universities backed a move towards a more risk-based approach, calling for a system that reduced the regulatory bureaucracy for “high-performing institutions”.

But the proposals for maintaining quality will also have to incorporate plans expected to be announced by the government for ensuring the quality of teaching.

The Conservatives’ election manifesto promised the creation of a “teaching excellence framework” – which would assess teaching standards in the way that the “research excellence framework” is used to compare the quality of university research…

Scotland’s universities operate under a different regulatory system…

More at: University standards checks overhaul


These changes seem – perhaps understandably – to have been welcomed by the older, established universities and met with caution by the newer one.

What do you think? Do they sound like a step in the right direction? What concerns would you have?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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