International Trends in Quality Assessment in Higher Education

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1 International Trends in Quality Assessment in Higher Education Don Baker, Director PEQAB Secretariat CUCC Workshop, March 24,

2 Some Thoughts! The unexamined life may not be worth living. Socrates! The unexamined program or institution may not be worth having. Anonymous! We build good boats. At a profit if we can, at a loss if we must. But we build good boats. A company with a clear commitment to quality 2

3 Purpose of Presentation! Trends in higher education that inspire quality concerns! Trends in degree program quality assessment! Link between credit transfer/credential recognition and quality assurance through concern for standards! Need for a more proactive approach to issues 3

4 Credential Recognition a Global Concern! Transition from elite and exclusive to mass and inclusive higher ed has transformed relationship to the society it serves! New institutions, programs, clienteles, stakeholders! Knowledge and ideas have no boundaries: higher ed an increasingly global enterprise! Mobile students, overseas delivery, distance ed. 4

5 Credential Recognition a Global Concern! Recognition of credentials and credits within and across jurisdictions is critical! Otherwise wasted energy, resources! Recognition by whom?! By academic institutions, professions, employers! What is the test?! Getting acceptance or access 5

6 Credential Recognition a Global Concern! On what should recognition be based?! Learning outcomes: what students know and can do at the end of courses and programs! Learning outcome standards for credentials! Recognition requires standards/outcomes and program evaluation 6

7 Credential Recognition a Global Concern! Combination of standards/procedures enables mutual recognition in professions! e.g., Engineering! But issues are more complex when several disciplines are involved! Qualifications frameworks outline transferable skills required of graduates for each credential 7

8 In sum,! The combination of! New institutions, programs, credentials, delivery systems! Insufficient funding, rising fees, reliance on donations! Commercialization (for-profits and for-profit activities by public institutions, import/expert of education)! Internationalization (student/labour mobility, networking, joint programs), and 8

9 Global Forces Toward QA! Educational instrumentalism (applied studies, partnerships, etc.)! Has led to demands for:! Greater accountability and transparency! Credible forms of quality assurance! Articulation and harmonization of standards! Clearer credit transfer/credential recognition! Greater coordination of educational systems! Seals of quality to assist in marketing ed services 9

10 The Trends at Work in Canada! New kinds of degrees e.g., college applied degrees; more applied university programs! New kinds of institutions e.g., university colleges, degree granting colleges! New providers e.g., private institutions, aggressive out-of-province public institutions! New coordination challenges finding appropriate credit transfer/credential recognition frameworks and procedures as complexity rises 10

11 QA: A New Global Industry! Proliferating QA agencies! International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE): talk of shared codes of practice, harmonized standards! Procedural consensus emerging! 4 steps: standards, self-study, external review, report! Idea of a world quality register! International Association of University Presidents! UNESCO conference, Oct

12 US Accreditation U.S.: the grand-daddy of accreditation Program review: professional, graduate, specialized programs (accredited program) Institutional review: governance, policies, resources, services (accredited institution) Increased focus on student learning outcome goals Latest emphasis: evaluating what students know and can do as a result of their courses of study, including assessing samples of student work 12

13 US Accreditation 2! 6 major regional bodies plus American Council of Education (ACE) which grants credit to courses delivered by non-conventional means! E.g., professional development workshops! Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) the umbrella organization! Global demand for US accreditation! CHEA, regionals plan to create a profit-making international accrediting body 13

14 Europeans and Others.! UK, India, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, South Africa, etc. have quality assurance agencies! The educational integration of Europe is leading to a restructuring of degrees, new credentials, articulation of standards, qualifications frameworks 14

15 Turning to Canada! QA viewed as an institutional responsibility! Only professional programs are accredited! Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada! There are no general accrediting bodies! CMEC, AUCC not involved in QA! No Canadian equivalent to ACE! Medley of credit transfer practices/systems! In addition to articulating educational pathways, such systems are a form of quality assurance 15

16 Practices in Ontario! Public universities share systems for evaluating graduate programs (OCGS) and for auditing undergrad program reviews (UPRAC)! CAATs: no shared QA evaluation system! No ACE-like function to assess course credits from nonconventional providers! Weak credit transfer/credential recognition arrangement in public sector based on years rather than identified generic/transferable skills 16

17 Practices in Ontario 2! PEQAB: arms-length, recommends to Minister on degrees proposed by organizations not empowered to offer degrees by Ontario statute! All privates, all out-of-province public universities, CAATs, UOIT, etc.! Degree level standards are based on international as well as Ontario standards! Strong focus on learning outcome goals! Samples of student work to be required 17

18 Quebec! Only public universities! QA an internal responsibility, with shared rules! CREPUQ committee sets rules but does not audit review procedures, as in Ontario! New programs are reviewed by both a CREPUQ committee and a Minister s advisory committee! There is no credit transfer agency! Coordination with colleges not a major issue! No private providers 18

19 Alberta! Universities based on common Universities Act! QA an internal responsibility, no collaborative system! Colleges based on Colleges Act! QA an internal responsibility, no collaborative system! New programs subject to approval of Ministry! Review for system issues, not a quality review! Private Colleges Accreditation Board (PCAB)! Reviews requests for baccalaureate programs! Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfers! Both public and private sector coordination 19

20 British Columbia! Universities rooted in separate acts! UBC, SFU, U of Victoria in one act! UNBC, BCOU, Royal Roads in individual acts! Others, including university colleges, are rooted in College and Institute Act! Degree! For public universities/university colleges! For private and out-of-province institutions! BC Council on Admissions and Transfer! So far coordinates transfer among public institutions 20

21 Maritimes! Only public universities offer degree programs! On-going program review an internal university responsibility, in accord with agreed procedures! The Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission sets the procedures, and! Reviews all new program and proposed program modification proposals, and! Monitors quality assurance procedures in institutions 21

22 Concluding Remarks 1! The idea that academic credentials ought to be set in comprehensive qualifications frameworks is spreading! The idea is related to pressure to create clear pathways for lifelong learning activity (credit transfer, credential recognition) and clear learning outcome standards for program quality assurance 22

23 Concluding Remarks 2! The proliferation of post-secondary education providers in Ontario (CAATS, new privates, e- delivery) suggests the need for a proactive approach to credit transfer and credential recognition! Development of a comprehensive qualifications framework for at least degree level education appears to be an appropriate way to proceed 23

24 Concluding Remarks 3! A qualifications framework will facilitate harmonization of standards in Canada and the transfer of credits and mutual recognition of credentials! Harmonized standards may contribute to voluntary national quality assessment activities leading to Canadian accreditation that will help attract foreign students and international businesses and the marketing of Canadian educational services abroad 24

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