Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of International Higher Education Systems and Institutions

pp 1-4

Date: Latest Version

Quality of Higher Education Systems

  • Ross WilliamsAffiliated withMelbourne Institute, University of Melbourne Email author 
  • , Gaétan de RassenfosseAffiliated withCollege of Management of Technology, Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne


System performance; Educational standards


The degree to which a system of higher education meets personal and national needs in an efficient manner.

The “quality” of a national system of higher education is a multidimensional concept. Quality is most frequently measured in terms of outcomes, but outcomes depend on the input of adequate resources and favorable public policy – themselves measures of quality as they signal government commitment to education. The relationship between inputs and outcomes provides a measure of value added or efficiency that represents a further element of quality. A well-performing system requires appropriate quality-ensuring processes to be in place at both the institutional and national level. Reputation is yet another dimension of quality. It combines a multitude of measures, but in essence it is a summary measure of past values of actual performance.

Quality must be evaluated against the missions of the system. In very general terms, the f ...

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