Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The QAA Is Hitting the Right Notes: Letters

Magazine article The Times Higher Education Supplement : THE

The QAA Is Hitting the Right Notes: Letters

Article excerpt

Your leader of 16 May ("Nul points for agency standard") may have got it right in relation to the UK's dismal Eurovision performance, but it is wide of the mark concerning the Quality Assurance Agency, both in relation to the Higher Education Policy Institute report on study hours ("Wanted: new yardstick for student workloads (the old one doesn't cut it)", 16 May) and the outcome of the University of Southampton's appeal against its institutional review ("Southampton shows teeth and watchdog backs down", 16 May).

The 2013 Hepi student experience report certainly raises important issues about study hours, the comparability of workload expectations and accurate information for students - which is why the QAA has been in discussion with Hepi about the implications of the findings, is about to consult on the expectations about the setting of standards (including the use of credit frameworks), and has introduced a formal judgment on the use that institutions make of information as part of quality review.

It is unsurprising to see Roger Brown and Geoffrey Alderman asserting again that the only way to change anything in the quality of UK higher education is to underpin external quality assurance with the threat of legal sanctions (Letters, 16 May). However, it is disappointing to see Times Higher Education advocating the same remedy of central control without any consideration of its impact on the strength that UK higher education gains through its independence - and the independence of the QAA - in safeguarding quality and standards through external peer review. …

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