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Term Definition

ECTS is an outcome of the European Community project initially established under the ERASMUS Programme (1988-1995). It was developed more broadly between 1995-1999 under the higher education component of the SOCRATES Programme, ERASMUS, and proved to be an effective tool for creating curricular transparency and facilitating academic recognition. The activity of ECTS is twofold: on the one hand, it guarantees academic recognition to students of studies completed abroad and furthermore enables studies abroad; on the other hand, it provides higher education institutions with curricular transparency by offering detailed information regarding the respective curricula and their relevance in terms of an earned degree and by enabling higher education institutions to preserve their autonomy and responsibility for all decisions regarding student achievement. The Bologna Declaration takes ECTS as the common framework for curriculum design and student mobility within the envisaged European Higher Education Area.


Level of requirements and conditions regarding different stages of the educational process and the relationship between those stages, such as inputs, processes, and outputs. Various types of educational standards exist with regard to learning resources, programmes, and results, in general, and student performance (content standards, performance standards, proficiency standards, and opportunity-to-learn standards).


An output of specific review/analyses (e.g., the WASC Educational Effectiveness Review or its Reports on Institutional Effectiveness) that measure (the quality of) the achievement of a specific educational goal or the degree to which a higher education institution can be expected to achieve specific requirements. It is different from efficiency, which is measured by the volume of output or input used. As a primary measure of success of a programme or of a higher education institution, clear indicators, meaningful information, and evidence best reflecting institutional effectiveness with respect to student learning and academic achievement have to be gathered through various procedures (inspection, observation, site visits, etc.). Engaging in the measurement of educational effectiveness creates a value-added process through quality assurance and accreditation review and contributes to building, within the institution, a culture of evidence.


Evaluation of teaching and academic studies in a subject or department and the related degree programmes comprises all those activities which aim at assessing quality and fitness for purpose and of purpose. Strengths and weaknesses of education and training can bi identified by stocktaking, analysis and proposals formulated to ensure the sustainability of quality. Evaluation may be carried out through both internal and external procedures. The main goal in enhancing quality is ensuring that internal and external procedures are used to improve student learning.


The process whereby a specialized agency collects data, information, and evidence about an institution, a particular unit of a given institution, or a core activity of an institution, in order to make a statement about its quality. External evaluation is carried out by a team of external experts, peers, or inspectors, and usually requires three distinct operations:
i. analysis of the self-study report;
ii. a site visit;
iii. the drafting of an evaluation report.

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