Higher Education

, Volume 41, Issue 3, pp 221-238

First online:

The reflective institution: Assuring and enhancing the quality of teaching and learning

  • John BiggsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, The University of Hong Kong

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Three definitions of ``quality'' have entered the qualityassurance (QA) debate: quality as value for money, quality as fitfor the purpose of the institution, quality as transforming. The firstis pivotal for retrospective QA, which sees QA in terms ofaccountability, and conforming to externally imposed standards. The lasttwo are pivotal for prospective QA, which sees QA asmaintaining and enhancing the quality of teaching and learning in theinstitution. In this paper, the reflective practitioner is taken as themodel for prospective QA. Three stages are involved in institutionalreflective practice: articulating an espoused theory of teaching, thequality model (QM); continually improving on current practicethrough quality enhancement (QE), in which staff development should playan important role; and making quality feasible (QF), by removingimpediments to good teaching, which often arise through distortedpriorities in institutional policy and procedures. These three stages,QM, QE, and QF, are essential ingredients in prospective QA.

aligned teaching criterian-referenced assessment quality assurance quality enhancement quality feasability reflective practice staff development