Quality enhancement has become a popular requirement in most higher education quality assurance frameworks in Europe. Is quality enhancement the current and future focus of quality assurance in higher education or is it simply an old wine in a new bottle? To answer the question, let's examine the perspectives of quality assurance and quality enhancement in higher education.
Middlehurst, R (1997) defines quality enhancement as part of a wider framework of quality management. Quality assurance is about determining the objectives and how these objectives can be achieved while quality enhancement is concerned with making improvements.
Biggs, J (2001) defines quality enhancement as the internal mechanisms that an institution puts in place to continually review and improve practice. Quality assurance tends to be retrospective as it looks into the past to make a judgement with a focus on accountability. On the other hand, quality enhancement tends to be prospective which is concerned with the present and future, focusing on quality as fit for purpose and encouraging improvement.
Inglis, A (2005) defines quality assurance as a process by which a product or service is compared with a predetermined internal or external standard. Quality enhancement or improvement is about an internal comparison between the current standard and the standard being targeted.
With the above perspectives, what is your view of quality enhancement and quality assurance? Is it an old wine in a new bottle?