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Glossary

There are 7 entries in this glossary.
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Glossaries

All A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Term Definition
CERTIFICATION

The process by which an agency or an association acknowledges the achievement of established quality standards and usually grants certain privileges to the target individual (student or teacher).

CODE OF PRACTICE

A Code of Practice is a document, with no mandatory requirements, that describes the minimum audit requirements and those that are considered to reveal a practice worthy of consideration. A Code identifies a comprehensive series of system-wide expectations covering matters relating to the management of academic quality and standards in higher education. It provides an authoritative reference point for institutions as they consciously, actively, and systematically assure the academic quality and standards of their programmes, awards, and qualifications. A Code assumes that, taking into account nationally agreed upon principles and practices, each institution has its own systems for independent verification both of its quality and standards and of the effectiveness of its quality assurance systems. In developing a Code, extensive advice is sought from a range of knowledgeable practitioners.

COMPETENCES

Competences represent a dynamic combination of cognitive and metacognitive skills, knowledge and understanding, interpersonal, intellectual and practical skills and ethical values. Fostering these competences is the object of all educational programmes. Competences are developed in all course units and assessed at different stages of a programme. Some competences are subject-area related (specific to a field of study), while others are generic (common to any degree course). It is normally the case that competence development proceeds in an integrated and cyclical manner throughout a programme.

CONTENT STANDARDS

Level of core competencies, relevant knowledge, and skills within a subject area, i.e., everything a student should know and be able to do. Content standards shape what goes into the curriculum and refer to required inputs.

COUNTABLE OUTCOMES

Results that can be quantified; all measures of student outcomes except learning gains, including executive function skills, and affective-related measures. Examples of countable outcomes include: numbers of persons who gain employment, numbers of people who register to vote, and numbers of people who achieve a graduate education degree. Learning gains are gains in speaking, listening, reading, writing, and numeracy. Executive function skills include problem-solving, critical thinking, and meta-cognition. Affective-related measures include self-esteem, self-confidence, and interpersonal communication.

CRITERIA

Yardsticks/checkpoints/benchmarks by which the attainment of certain objectives and/or standards can be examined. Criteria describe in a certain degree of detail the characteristics of the requirements and conditions to be met [in order to meet a standard] and therefore provide the (quantitative and/or qualitative) basis on which an evaluative conclusion is drawn.

CULTURE OF EVIDENCE

As it relates to institutional quality culture, the culture of evidence is that habit acquired in a higher education institution and based on clear ethical values, principles, and rules, which consists of the self-evaluation of its learning outcomes, engaging the teaching staff and the academic administration in a thoughtful, regular collection, selection, and use of relevant institutional performance indicators, in order to inform and prove, whenever (and to whomever) necessary, that it is doing well in specific areas (e.g., institutional planning, decision- making, quality, etc.) and for the purpose of improving its learning and teaching outcomes. The “culture of evidence” (as opposed to “a culture of professional tradition and trust”) is the empirical basis for the quality culture of a higher education institution. As formulated within the new WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges) standards, the culture of evidence requested from a higher education institution implies that the institution is stimulated to be able to provide empirical data that its programmes are consistent with its own mission and not with some pre-given “check list” of requests.

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