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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/096392800413627
This paper deals with the issues and concepts involved in defining and measuring quality in higher education. Quality in higher education has a number of distinct meanings. It is a complex and multidimensional concept, for which it is difficult to develop objective proxy measures. The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council (SHEFC) introduced a system of teaching quality assessment (TQA) in 1992/93. The TQA framework identified 11 key aspects covering 63 elements and adopted a process of self-assessment followed by peer review. The purpose of this paper is to examine the quality framework used in the TQA assessment exercise and provide a textual analysis of the published assessment reports. The provision of accounting and finance by 11 Scottish universities was assessed in 1995/96. The results of a content analysis of the resulting 11 published TQA assessments, scoring each comment as either positive or negative are presented. Based on this analysis, an objective quality index (QI) is derived and compared to the quality grades awarded. Key findings regarding the distribution pattern of comments across TQA dimensions are that: (i) one in three elements attract no comment; (ii) there is wide variation in the number of comments relating to each aspect and element; (iii) some important issues are not in the TQA framework. This suggests that the 63 TQA elements are not viewed as being of equal importance and gives an indication of the implicit weights assigned. The ranking of universities based on the QI index is in line with the quality grades actually awarded, providing a degree of external validation of the research method adopted. Suggestions for improving the TQA framework are made. These findings could assist the newly-formed Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) in the development of the new quality assurance framework.
|Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:||Beattie, Prof Vivien|
|Authors:||Beattie, V., and Collins, B.|
|Subjects:||H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5601 Accounting|
|College/School:||College of Social Sciences > Adam Smith Business School > Accounting and Finance|
|Journal Name:||Accounting Education|