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In 2014, the higher education funding bodies in England, Wales and Northern Ireland announced a joint review of future approaches to quality assessment. In the first stage of the review the Quality Assessment Review Steering Group (the group advising the Boards of the different funding bodies) sought views on the broad purpose and parameters of any future arrangements for quality assessment in higher education. The steering group produced a document with questions designed to stimulate a wide-ranging discussion and debate about high-level issues.

This report, commissioned from MRUK, sets out the broad range of responses that were submitted to this discussion document. It also draws on the findings emerging from the events that supported phase one of the review. Amongst other things the report explores different stakeholder views on:

  • the trends and developments that a future quality assessment system should take into account
  • the high-level principles that should underpin future quality assessment arrangements
  • the kind of quality assessment system that will enable institutions to grow, develop and fulfil their missions
  • approaches to the comparability of academic standards and the potential for the external examining system to provide judgements about standards
  • how far it is possible to place further reliance on an institution’s own internal governance mechanisms
  • the extent to which the quality assessment system should be differentiated to reflect the diversity of providers and provision
  • the components of a future quality assessment system – including the function of external cyclical review and the Quality Code
  • what should happen when things go wrong
  • whether quality assessment should include scrutiny of activities taking place outside the UK
  • whether the current system offers good value for money.