External Quality Audit

External Quality Audit

Has It Improved Quality Assurance in Universities?

1st Edition - March 14, 2013

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  • Editors: Mahsood Shah, Chenicheri Sid Nair
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780633169

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Whilst external quality audits have been in place for more than a decade in some countries, limited research exists on the extent to which such audits have been effective in improving systems and processes for quality assurance in higher education institutions, and the extent to which such audits have improved academic standards, outcomes and student experience. External Quality Audit looks at the experience of countries where external quality audits have been established by governments, and provides analyses of their effectiveness in improving quality assurance in universities and other higher education institutions.

Key Features

  • Brings together the experience of academics and administrators in higher education institutions
  • Examines international experience on the extent to which external quality audits have improved quality assurance at national, institutional and faculty levels
  • Gives perspective from a variety of higher education institutions


Academic and non-academic quality practitioners who have interests in higher education quality assurance, and government departments with responsibilities for higher education policy and direction

Table of Contents

  • List of figures and tables


    About the editors and contributors

    Chapter 1: Quality assurance – corporate fist in a velvet glove?


    Australian quality assurance

    Measuring teaching quality

    Educational reform

    Quality assurance for teaching at James Cook University 2000–10

    The JCU historical context for quality assurance

    Quality assurance – summary of influences on teaching

    All is not rosy in the world of professors

    Chapter 2: The impact of external quality audit in a private for-profit tertiary education institution



    Evidence of effectiveness: global perspective

    Brief overview of private providers in Australia

    External quality audits of private providers

    Quality audit approach

    Discussion on the effectiveness of the quality audit


    Chapter 3: Multiple views of quality audits in New Zealand: a case for advancing systemic understanding



    A brief overview of quality audits

    Quality audit in New Zealand

    Views of quality audits in New Zealand


    Chapter 4: Reflections on the effectiveness of four cycles of external quality audits in New Zealand universities



    Universities New Zealand and the establishment of the New Zealand Universities Academic Audit Unit, Te Whanga Ttari

    National context: recent government policy

    International context

    The impact of academic audit on systems and processes

    The impact of academic audit on standards, outcomes and the student learning experience

    The impact of academic audit at institutional and national level

    The future challenges for quality assurance in New Zealand universities


    Chapter 5: Enhancing quality assurance in an institution: the University of the South Pacific experience of an external audit


    University of the South Pacific: an overview

    A vision for the year 2020

    The quality strategy

    External audit

    The self-assessment

    Post-audit – the processes and impacts


    Chapter 6: Quality audits in Hong Kong: seeking evidence of quality enhancement


    The education landscape in Hong Kong

    Quality audits in Hong Kong

    Methodology for analysis of the Quality Assurance Council reports



    Chapter 7: External quality audits and quality assurance in the higher education sector: the Malaysian perspective



    Quality audit practice in higher education

    Government policy on external quality audits

    The case of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia

    A practitioner’s point of view

    Future challenges for higher education quality assurance in Malaysia


    Chapter 8: External quality audit in the UK: an impact analysis



    The purposes of Institutional Audit

    The implementation of Institutional Audit1

    The effects of Institutional Audit

    Reflections on Institutional Audit


    Chapter 9: Effect of external quality agencies on universities in India


    The context

    The Indian scenario

    Effects of external assurance

    Assuring transnational education

    Lessons to be learned

    Chapter 10: External quality audits in South African higher education: goals, outcomes and challenges



    External quality assurance in the South African higher education context

    Functions of the HEQC

    Principles and approaches in the institutional audit system

    Systems and procedures for institutional audits

    External institutional audits: outcomes and impact

    Impact of the audit process: preparation and site visit

    The issue of impact through audit recommendations

    Evaluating the student experience in audits


    Chapter 11: Development, effectiveness and future of quality assurance and assessment in Italian higher education



    Stages in quality assurance in Italian higher education

    Conclusion: the trade-off between differentiation and standardisation

    Chapter 12: Audits of quality assurance systems of higher education institutions in Finland


    The Finnish system of higher education

    Brief background of government policy on external quality audits in Finland

    Role of FINHEEC, the national quality assurance organization

    How do the audits impact on quality management?

    Audits and educational outcomes

    Students’ role in quality management

    The impact of audits at national, institutional and faculty level

    The future challenges of higher education quality assurance


    Chapter 13: External quality auditing: strengths and shortcomings in the audit process



    External quality auditing in Norway

    A process view on audits

    Data and methods

    The functioning and effects of external audits in Norway

    Some final reflections

    Chapter 14: Institutional management and quality audit: the experience in Chile


    Development of external quality assurance schemes in Chile: an answer to the challenges of higher education evolution

    A study to learn about the impact of quality audits


    Lessons learned and recommendations

    Chapter 15: Scope, transparency and style: system-level quality strategies and the student experience in Australia



    External quality audit and the student experience

    The Australian Universities Quality Agency and the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency

    System-level quality strategies and the impact of external review

    Conclusion: the merits of external review and prospects for future development

    Chapter 16: Accreditation and institutional learning: the impact interactions based on a minimaxing strategy have on the benefits from external reviews



    Purpose of this chapter

    Prelude: thoughts on the nature of learning

    Learning as a stochastic proposition

    Learning as a paradox

    Perception and learning

    The power of language used – who controls the narrative?

    When learning happens

    Limitations to organizational learning

    Level 1: Nexus or nexum – type of interaction between HEIs and external agents

    Level 2: Structural and cultural impacts on compliance


    Chapter 17: Has it worked globally?



    Have audits been successful?

    Where to from here?


Product details

  • No. of pages: 308
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Chandos Publishing 2013
  • Published: March 14, 2013
  • Imprint: Chandos Publishing
  • eBook ISBN: 9781780633169

About the Editors

Mahsood Shah

Mahsood Shah is Principal Advisor for Academic Strategy, Planning and Quality at the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.

Affiliations and Expertise

RMIT University

Chenicheri Sid Nair

Professor Sid Nair is currently Executive Dean and Dean Learning, Teaching and Student Experience at the Victorian Institute of Technology (VIT), Australia where he is responsible for the learning, teaching, student experience and quality matters of the Institution. Previous to this appointment at VIT, Sid was the Executive Director of the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), Mauritius, the apex regulatory body where he was responsible for the formulation and execution of strategies, policies and procedures in the higher education sector in Mauritius. Prior to joining TEC, he was Professor of Higher Education Development at the Centre for Education Futures (CEF), University of Western Australia. His role was to build the capacity of academics in the digital delivery of their teaching. His career path also had him as Interim Director and Quality Advisor (Evaluations and Research) at the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) at Monash University, Australia where he headed the evaluation unit at Monash University. In this capacity he restructured the evaluation framework at the university. The approach to evaluations at Monash has been noted in the first round of the Australian Universities Quality Agency (AUQA) audits and is part of the good practice database. His research work lies in the areas of quality in the higher education system, classroom and school environments, and the implementation of improvements from stakeholder feedback. He has extensive lecturing experience in the applied sciences in Canada, Singapore and Australia. He is an international consultant in quality and evaluations in higher education.

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Western Australia, Australia

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