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HEFCE, together with the funding bodies in Wales and Northern Ireland, is undertaking a review of future approaches to quality assessment in higher education. In January we published a wide-ranging discussion document which asks important questions of higher education providers, of students, of employers, and of other stakeholders about what quality assessment arrangements should be like in the future.

Today we are publishing two further pieces of research to stimulate thinking and discussion in this area.

  • International comparator study to inform the quality assessment review in England, Wales and Northern Ireland: An account of approaches to quality in three competitor countries: Norway, America and Australia, focusing on the role of audit and reporting; the burden of different approaches, and the role of outcomes-based approaches.
  • Approaches to regulation in other UK sectors: The study analyses approaches in advertising, qualifications, financial services, accountancy and audit. 

We hope these studies will prompt reflection on cross-sector themes and issues, and highlight innovative practices that might, with appropriate re-design, be effective within our own future quality assessment system. We are not seeking formal responses to these studies but would welcome reflections on the issues raised in responses to our Quality Assessment Review discussion document, by the deadline of 27 February 2015.

We expect to discuss these studies, as well as the emerging outcomes from the Quality Assessment Review more broadly, at two national conferences scheduled for 20 and 30 March 2015.  Further details will be available shortly.

Notes

  1. In October 2014, HEFCE, the Department for Employment and Learning Northern Ireland, and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales announced that they were to undertake a joint review of quality assessment arrangements. The Scottish Funding Council, in partnership with Universities Scotland and NUS Scotland, will be separately reviewing the approach to assessment of quality for Scottish universities in a parallel process on a similar timescale. The four UK funding bodies have agreed to share findings and views.