Prince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz University (SAUDI ARABIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Pages: 4424-4433
ISBN: 978-84-608-2657-6
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Quality audit in higher education is one of those innovations that began to emerge in the form of distinct educational policies and practices during the eighties and nineties of the 20th century. Although quality standards, auditing and accreditation practices came to the educational institutions from other fields, such as industrial engineering and business administration, they have been on the agenda for educational research for more than two decades. Nowadays, the culture of audit is widely spread in higher education settings, and quality audit practices have become an important part of accountability towards stakeholders and academic community.

In line with this trend, many conferences, journal articles and dissertations have emphasized the importance of quality assurance in higher education. This research movement positively assesses quality assurance practices as being implemented in higher education. However, a careful review of related literature shows considerable doubts regarding the impact of quality-assurance practices on higher education performance, mainly because they depend on self-study-with-peer-review techniques, and are processes rather than outcomes focused. Alternative research critiques quality audit systems and draws attention to the need of better evaluation metrics, and accurate performance instruments.

This study aims to present a critical review for current audit practices and to propose a framework for future research related to quality in higher education agenda. This future research agenda focuses on improving quality metrics and performance measurement in higher education. The significance of the study can be postulated as the current need for reshaping of quality audit practices. It also responds to one of the most important educational movement during the 20th century “Performance-based Education” that focus on outcomes and measurable achievement. The study concludes 10 major drawbacks of current quality audit in higher education and suggests new topics of research related to re-identify quality in higher education and focusing on performance-based metrics for quality. This metrics consider economic measures related to efficiency, effectiveness, cost-benefit and productivity. Such emphasis on performance-oriented measures in university assessment is consistent not only with the “Performance-based Education” trend, but also with business principle “what we can’t measure, we can’t manage”.
Quality audit in higher education, Performance audit, Quality measurement.