“Why can’t they just leave us alone?”
This refrain is heard often in reference to quality assurance processes in higher education systems around the world, according to the former chief executive of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education in the United Kingdom.
John Randall, now an international consultant in the fields of higher education and professional training, spoke in Toronto on March 25 at an event hosted by the Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario. During his lecture to more than 100 leaders from Ontario’s higher education community, Mr. Randall imparted some of his extensive experience in developing and administrating systems of quality assurance for postsecondary education.
Basing his remarks on examples from the United Kingdom, China and other nations, Mr. Randall emphasized that “at the global level, countries need to demonstrate that their education systems match world class standards.”
According to Mr. Randall, most systems of quality assurance undergo an evolutionary process. The majority will begin by measuring inputs, specifically the physical and human resources of institutions. Evaluation of teaching and learning processes is typically the next stage of their development. Finally, a mature system of quality assurance will go one step further to assess outcomes – the knowledge and skills students attain upon completion of a course or program. It should be noted that Mr. Randall stressed the value of particularly focusing on outcomes that are transferable to the workplace.
In arguing that quality assurance systems should be designed to meet international standards, Mr. Randall acknowledged that some differences between jurisdictions are necessary to reflect the contexts in which their postsecondary institutions developed. He suggested that Ontario can learn from the experiences of other higher education systems to ultimately build a quality assurance process that is all its own.
Click here to download John Randall’s complete speaking notes.
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