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Glossary of terms used on this site

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Term Definition

There are currently three main modes for the provision of internal audit within higher education: (i) in-house team employed as staff members by the respective institutions; (ii) audit consortium (which may provide services to a number of clients both within and outside the sector); and (iii) consultancy firm that undertake internal audits.


The process of self-evaluation consists of the systematic collection of administrative data, the questioning of students and graduates, and the holding of moderated interviews with lecturers and students, resulting in a self-study report. Self-evaluation is basically a collective institutional reflection and an opportunity for quality enhancement. The resulting report further serves as a provider of information for the review team in charge of the external evaluation.


Joint degree is a qualification issued jointly by two or more higher education institutions on the basis of a joint programme of study. The foundation of such joint programmes lays in joint responsibility in the following areas: definition of study programmes' objectives, curriculum development, organization of a course of study, types of acquired qualifications. Joint academic degree may be issued as: supplement to one or more national degrees, degree of an institution offering joint programme of study which is not a supplement to any other degree, one or more national degrees officially issued as the only confirmation of the qualifications acquired after completion of a certain joint programme.


Knowledge means a set of gained and interconnected information. In Croatian Qualification Framework, knowledge shall refer to theoretical and/or factual knowledge.


The process by which a governmental agency grants official permission (i) to persons meeting predetermined qualifications to engage in a given occupation and/or use of a particular title; (ii) to programmes, based on the evaluation of appropriate plans, to operate before obtaining accredited status, and (iii) to institutions to perform specified functions. Licensure (in the case of persons) is usually obtained through examination or graduation from an accredited institution. 


Agreement by two or more institutional bodies to validate each other’s degrees, programmes, or institutions and/or affirmation by two or more quality assurance or accrediting agencies that the methodology of the agencies are sound and that the procedures are functioning accordingly. 


Non-formal learning is not organized and provided by a certain HEI and, usually, does not result in issuance of an official document. However, such learning is structured (goals are defined, such as timeframe and learning support). Form the learners’ perspective, non-formal learning is based on an intention too.


Anticipated or achieved results of programmes or the accomplishment of institutional objectives, as demonstrated by a wide range of indicators (such as student knowledge, cognitive skills, and attitudes). Outcomes are direct results of the instructional programme, planned in terms of student/learner growth in all areas. An outcome must be distinguished from an objective, which is a sought-after result. Generally, each outcome statement should describe one effect of the instructional programme, and not accumulate several into one statement. Also, the statements should be clearly detailed and easily understandable by all teaching staff and students in the given area or department. 


The process of evaluation and improvement of specific results of a higher education institution in order to demonstrate its institutional effectiveness. Assessment may concern the performance of teaching staff, the effectiveness of institutional practices, and/or the functioning of departments or programmes (e.g., programme reviews, budget reviews, etc.). It is a formative procedure used for institutional self-study, financial retrenchment, programme evaluation, and better understanding of the current needs of students. 


Assessment procedure regarding the quality and effectiveness of the academic programmes of an institution, its staffing, and/or its structure, carried out by external experts (peers). (Strictly speaking, peers are academics of the same discipline, but in practice, different types of external evaluators exist, even though all are meant to be specialists in the field reviewed and knowledgeable about higher education in general.) The review may [also] vary the source of authority of peers, types of peers, their selection and training, their site visits, and the standards to be met. A review is usually based on a self-evaluation report provided by the institution and can itself be used as a basis for indicators and/or as a method of judgment for (external) evaluation in higher education. 


Peers are representatives of academic community and of experts in a concerned field of study coming from other economic and social sectors.


Yardsticks/checkpoints/benchmarks that are used to judge the attainment of performance standards. As qualities, characteristics, or dimensions of a standard for student performance, they indicate how well students meet expectations of what they should know and be able to do, as expressed by varying gradients of success by (scoring) rubrics or by grades.


A range of statistical parameters representing a measure of the extent to which a higher education institution or a programme is performing in a certain quality dimension. They are qualitative and quantitative measures of the output (short-term measures of results) or of the outcome (long-term measures of outcomes and impacts) of a system or of a programme. They allow institutions to benchmark their own performances or allow comparison among higher education institutions. Performance indicators work efficiently only when they are used as part of a coherent set of input, process, and output indicators. 


Levels of achievement/mastery that are deemed exemplary or appropriate, i.e., specifications of how good the work of a student must be to meet the content standards. Performance standards shape expectations for educational outcomes. 


Refers to the right to practice and the professional status accorded to a holder of a qualification. Owing to different regulations for the recognition of degrees or titles, a differentiation of two groups should be made: de Jure Professional Recognition applies to the right to work in a specific country in a legally regulated profession (e.g., as a medical doctor) while de Facto Professional Recognition refers to situations of unregulated professional recognition, such as situations in which no national legal authorization exists or is required. 

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