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The New Universities and Quality Control: The Long Search for a Policy Consensus

  • Ourania FilippakouEmail author
  • Ted Tapper
Chapter
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)

Abstract

The evaluation of the teaching and learning process in English higher education has had a troubled history that is still in the process of change. Historically the university system prided itself on its high academic standards that were monitored internally with the aid of a network of external examiners. The emergence of the polytechnics as higher education institutions saw the emergence of quasi-state regulation in the form of the Council for National Academic Awards. Since the abolition of the binary line between polytechnics and universities in 1992, several institutional forms of ‘quality’ were established with state support: the Academic Audit Unit, the Higher Education Quality Council, and in 1997 the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) was put in place which had the responsibility for making judgements about the quality of their degree programmes. After considerable grassroots protest within the sector (much of it led by the University of Warwick), this perceived draconian form of review was replaced by an audit process which basically exists to ensure that institutions have a satisfactory level of academic quality and procedures in place to preserve it. The object of the process is to ensure that their degree programmes meet UK standards which the latest reviews assures is true for all seven of the new universities in our study. The steady increase in student tuition fees led many to question the QAA’s audit procedures and the Office for Students has replaced the funding council model of governance and we can expect the emergence of a state-regulated market in tuition fees with levels, at least in part, determined by an evaluation of the quality of the academic programmes that the universities offer—so we will move from an audit to a tighter regulatory regime.

Keywords

Quality control External examiners Control as academic audit Linking funding to quality control 

References

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Electronic Sources and Websites

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Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EducationBrunel University LondonUxbridgeUK
  2. 2.Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (OxCheps)New College, OxfordOxfordUK

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