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Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

Ranking and league tables are an established technique for displaying the comparative ranking of organizations in terms of their performance. They are meant to supply information to interested stakeholders, consumers, and policy-makers, alike on measurable differences in service quality of several similar providers. Even if somewhat controversial, especially concerning the methodological aspects, they are quite popular and seen as a useful instrument for public information, while also providing an additional incentive to quality improvement. 


Formal acknowledgement of (i) individual academic or professional qualifications; (ii) programmes of a higher education institution; and/or (iii) quality assurance agencies, by a competent recognition authority that acknowledges certain standards and/or values with respect to special purposes that indicate the consequences of recognition. Recognition is usually of a cross-institutional and/or cross-border nature. As regards recognition of individual qualifications, learning experiences (e.g., degrees, diplomas, or periods of study) are validated with a view to facilitating the access of holders to educational and/or employment activities. Here, at least two kinds of recognition, those for academic and those for professional purposes, should be distinguished.


The formal acknowledgement of skills, knowledge, and competencies that are gained through work experience, informal training, and life experience.

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