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Quality Assurance In Education Essay

1696 words - 7 pages

Why International Quality Assurance in Distance Education? What is "quality assurance ? Why "international" ? Why Distance Education ? What is "quality" ? Ask many in the academic world what "quality in education" means and the answer is "being accredited".But the word "accredited" can have a different meaning and/or status in different countries, even where English is the mother tongue. Of course, there are also other terms for the same sort of process - chartered, state licensing, state approval, professional licensing, professional accreditation, recognised accreditation, independent accreditation and so on.And why for Distance Education (DE) in particular ? ...view middle of the document...

iso.ch), with the third version to be issued towards the end of 2000.The following quotation is taken from the ISO Web Site:- ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 are practical tools to assist users in business and government to assure the quality of their products and services, and to manage the impact of their activities on the environment.Like all ISO standards, their use is voluntary "“ unless a business sector makes them a market requirement, or unless a government issues regulations making their use obligatory.Therefore, organizations that implement ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 voluntarily are only doing so because they expect these standards to help them to do things better "“ and to provide real benefits.(Note: ISO.14000 is the Environmental Management standard now widely adopted around the world.) Despite almost natural expectations of a lengthy document, the current (1994) ISO.9000 standard is very succinct and is contained in twenty clauses over ten A4 pages (an example of another ISO standard).A web search will reveal many references if required, with an introduction for the Distance Learning world being held at: www.bfranklin.edu/deqa/ The twenty clauses of the present standard cover the subjects believed by the drafters to be the salient features of any quality assurance requirement, and have been applied in many product-delivery and service-delivery situations.Indeed, in education, three American school boards have adopted ISO.9000 as means of demonstrating and maintaining the quality they believe pupils and parents deserve. The largest such board (Jefferson County, Colorado) has 144 schools, 11,000 staff and 89,000 pupils within its scope. (See: http://www.abs-qe.com/jeffco.htm) Apart from world-class organisations such as Boeing, Rolls-Royce and Shell, the ISO.9000 QA logo now appears on an increasing range of goods and services from bottled water to business training and education.The clauses of the standard are summarised in the table below, with examples of areas of Distance Learning applicability:- Clause ISO.9000 (1994) Clause Title Potential Distance Education Area 4.1 Management Responsibility Institute Management and Policy 4.2 Quality System Formal Quality System Implemented 4.3 Contract Review Educational Contract with Students 4.4 Design Control Curriculum and Course Design 4.5 Document and Data Control Course Material and deliverables 4.6 Purchasing Bought-in Services (inc. Adjunct Faculty) 4.7 Control of Customer-Supplied Product Student Material, including Coursework 4.8 Product Identification and Traceability Tracking of All Course Phases/Components 4.9 Process Control All Educational and Administrative Processes 4.10 Inspection and Testing Student Questionnaire, Course Feedback 4.11 Control of Inspection and Measuring Legal...

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