Lessons from college drop-out rates

Posted in Fees, access and admissions on February 19th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – Third-level institutions must take some responsibility for the high drop-out rate at college level. Does the Higher Education Authority monitor the quality of lecturing, the lecture content and the exam processes of these institutions? …” (more)

[Kathleen Barton, Irish Times, 19 February]

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Self Assessments

Posted in Governance and administration on January 17th, 2019 by steve

Ireland“My first batch of examination marking having been completed satisfactorily and my next paper not taking place until the weekend (Saturday morning, to be precise), I naively hoped that I could devote myself to research for a few days this week as I am behind schedule in completing a couple of papers …” (more)

[In the Dark, 17 January]


Union Theological College standards at risk, watchdog warns

Posted in Governance and administration on December 5th, 2018 by steve

“Academic standards at the Union Theological College (UTC) are potentially ‘at risk’ in a number of areas, a watchdog has warned. The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) monitors standards in higher education institutions across the UK. The college is run by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and teaches theology to Queen’s University students …” (more)

[Robbie Meredith, BBC News, 5 November]

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The trouble with quality reviews

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on November 3rd, 2018 by steve

Ireland“DCU has just undergone an institutional quality review and that’s fine. I’m all in favour of accountability. But I do have a serious problem with the whole issue of quality and it has caused me to have a disagreement or two over the years with external examiners …” (more)

[An Irish Blog about Education, 2 November]

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Third Level Quality Assurance Compliance

Posted in Governance and administration on October 18th, 2018 by steve

IrelandBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael): To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the extent to which third level education requires ongoing assessment and updating in line with best practice internationally in order to ensure the ability of graduates to compete internationally; and if he will make a statement on the matter …” (more)

[Dáil written answers, 16 October]

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Minister Mitchell O’Connor launches two QQI reports to enhance quality in Higher Education

Posted in Governance and administration on December 13th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Mary Mitchell O Connor, TD, Minister for Higher Education, today launched two reports by the national regulator for quality in Further and Higher Education: Quality within higher education which is a summary report of the quality assurance and quality enhancement activities in publicly funded higher education institutions pertaining to the previous academic year; and Professional Body Accreditation in Higher Education Institutions in Ireland which was commissioned by QQI to establish a clearer picture of the professional accreditation landscape in Ireland …” (more)

[Department of Education and Skills, 13 December]

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Testing times in higher education

Posted in Teaching on August 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – I want to thank Dr Greg Foley (Letters, August 7th) for his list of review processes at DCU. It should be required reading for anyone considering adding to the list …” (more)

[James Quinn, Irish Times, 14 August]

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With Third-Level Awaiting News of Teaching Review, UK Students’ Union Caution Wariness

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 14th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Students’ unions in the UK claimed success in recent days after they were able to exclude 12 universities from a national student survey in an attempt to damage the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework. The radical action, they say, was successful. Now, if the Irish government does indeed introduce a similar framework, Irish students’ unions will need to decide what their stance will be on a policy that has divided UK higher education …” (more)

[Dominic McGrath, University Times, 12 AUgust]

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Plans to review teaching quality in universities ‘exasperating’

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 9th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“College lecturers have criticised plans which they say could result in rankings on teaching quality which place a major emphasis on student satisfaction. The Irish Times reported recently that a review into the quality of higher education is to be carried out by the Government following concerns over the impact of falling investment and rising student numbers …” (more)

[Carl O’Brien, Irish Times, 9 August]

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Testing times for quality teaching

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on August 7th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – With the news that the Minister for Education is considering the introduction of a UK-style Teaching Excellence Framework (Home News, July 25th) it is worth considering some of the quality processes that currently exist in the third-level sector, specifically my university, DCU …” (more)

[Greg Foley, Irish Times, 7 August]

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A TEF for Ireland?

Posted in Governance and administration, Teaching on July 31st, 2017 by steve

Ireland“With the news that the minister is considering the introduction of a UK-style TEF (Teaching Excellence Framework) it is worth considering some of the quality process that currently exist in the third level sector, specifically my university, DCU …” (more)

[educationandstuff, 31 July]

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10 things more important than essay mills

Posted in Governance and administration, Legal issues on May 15th, 2017 by steve

Ireland“The Irish government, via Minister Bruton, is to ‘clamp down’ on essay mills. That trying, in effect, to outlaw d’internet is doomed to failure is indicative of how little sensible focus is exerted on real challenges facing the higher education sector. Here are ten things that are more deserving than essay mills of ministerial press releases, actions, legislation, appearances on morning radio …” (more)

[Brian M Lucey, 15 May]

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‘About time’ value of quality assurance is demonstrated

Posted in Governance and administration on November 25th, 2015 by steve

EU“Higher education quality assurance staff have been told that it is ‘about time’ that they did more to demonstrate the value of their activities. Jeroen Huisman, professor of higher education at Ghent University, told the European Quality Assurance Forum that ‘surprisingly little work’ had been conducted on the impact of its members’ efforts …” (more)

[Chris Havergal, Times Higher Education, 24 November]


The TEF: What should it measure?

Posted in Teaching on July 6th, 2015 by steve

UK“Jo Johnson, the new Minister for Higher Education, surprised nobody last week by asserting his determination to deliver the Conservative Party’s manifesto commitment to ‘introduce a framework to recognise universities offering the highest teaching quality’. This will now be known as the Teaching Excellence Framework …” (more)

[Derfel’s Blog, 5 July]

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AHELO: Universities Behaving Badly

Posted in Teaching on May 21st, 2015 by steve

International“So there’s some excitement being generated this month with respect to the OECD’s Assessment of Higher Education Learning Outcomes (AHELO). Roughly speaking, AHELO is the higher education equivalent of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) …” (more)

[Alex Usher, HESA, 21 May]

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University standards

Posted in Governance and administration on December 8th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Sir, – In relation to Ms Hooper’s letter (December 5th), in which she asserts that what universities need is more rigorous, external examination, I wish to point out the following: As head of a department that will be examined on two occasions by an external professional body in 2015 …” (more)

[Patrick Ryan, Irish Times, 8 December]

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Universities focus too much on measuring activity, not quality

Posted in Research on August 15th, 2014 by steve

“Administrators in universities used to be people who would support academics in their role. Now it feels increasingly as if the administrative machine follows Parkinson’s law, not only creating more work for themselves (under the guise of quality monitoring) but also more work for people who entered academia …” (more)

[Guardian Professional, 15 August]

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A door to higher education quality assurance’s future

Posted in Governance and administration on July 5th, 2014 by steve

“It is not often that an opportunity arises to see whether external quality assurance in higher education actually works. Last summer the newly formed Irish organisation, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, or QQI, asked me to chair a group to examine the higher education institutional review schemes that had been used by its three predecessor, and now defunct, bodies …” (more)

[Peter Williams, University World News, 4 July]

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QQI Review of Reviews 2014

Posted in Governance and administration on June 10th, 2014 by steve

Ireland“Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI) today announced the outcome of an independent review of the processes by which external, institutional, quality-assurance reviews have been conducted of Irish higher education institutions, including reviews of the universities, institutes of technology, the DIT, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and independent higher education institutions …” (more)

[The Report itself is here.]
[QQI Press Release, 29 May]

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What do students deserve? Concerns mount over quality of expanding higher education

Posted in Teaching on May 28th, 2014 by steve

“The recent University Alliance report on quality in higher education brings into sharp focus one of the major issues facing contemporary UK higher education: how we ensure that the sector maintains its reputation for quality in a period of dramatic change …” (more)

[James Williams, The Conversation, 28 May]

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