New Policy Briefs on Internal Quality Assurance in higher education

02 Juillet 2018


Daystar University.
Students at Daystar University in Kenya.

Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) in higher education has become one of the most important ways of monitoring and managing quality at the institutional level. This is especially relevant in the context of the sector’s rapid global expansion and diversification. In four new Policy Briefs published by IIEP-UNESCO, policy-makers and higher education officials in charge of academic quality can draw from four themes on how to develop and implement more effective and innovative IQA systems for improved quality, employability, and management. The briefs draw from a major IIEP research study, which included and international survey and case studies from eight universities around the world. 

Internal Quality Assurance and Employability

This Policy Brief explores how Internal Quality Assurance (IQA) can foster and integrate greater employability among graduates. It presents strategies for both universities and national authorities to improve employability using IQA tools and processes, in particular for the development and revision of study programmes. This is especially relevant as the rapid expansion of enrolment in higher education worldwide has led to increasing graduate unemployment. There is therefore more pressure on higher education institutions to better align their education programmes with the realities and needs of the labour market.

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The Effects of Internal Quality Assurance

This Policy Brief discusses the effects of IQA tools on teaching and learning, employability, and management. It draws conclusions on how to make IQA tools and processes more effective and which practices allow IQA tools, such as student course and programme evaluations and workload assessments, to have a more profound impact. This brief draws from research based on multiple stakeholders and quantitative surveys and includes several recommendations.

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Internal Quality Assurance and Management

Management effectiveness is an important element that affects the quality of core higher education activities (such as teaching, research, and services). There are specific IQA tools tailored specifically to improve university management and apply evidence to decision-making and strategic planning. This Brief focuses on specific ways IQA can integrate management concerns and contribute to an institutional quality culture while also enhancing overall IQA tools and processes. This brief  also shares recommendations on how to close the loop between evidence and decision-making.

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Linking External and Internal Quality Assurance

This Policy Brief examines how External Quality Assurance (EQA) shaped IQA in the universities studied, and how the link between the two mechanisms can be improved for sustainable and continuous quality enhancement. EQA bodies first drove quality assurance in higher education as a means for control and accountability, but higher education institutions are responsible for quality improvement. In tandem with the sector’s growth, higher education institutions have therefore developed their own internal QA to respond to the increasing demands of QA agencies. This brief shows how to maximize the benefits of quality assurance, looking at EQA and IQA as integrated and mutually reinforcing mechanisms. This brief makes a number of recommendations on how this can be achieved.

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