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Glossary

This section contains a list of common terms and acronyms used in quality assurance and enhancement activities. This list can be useful to anyone that wants to get introduced to the language used in these activites.

AccountabilityAccountability is the requirement, when undertaking an activity, to expressly address the concerns, requirements or perspectives of others.
Accreditation (programme / institution) Accreditation is the establishment of the status, legitimacy or appropriateness of an institution, programme or module of study. Programme accreditation establishes the academic standing of the programme or the ability of the programme to produce graduates with professional competence to practice. Institutional accreditation provides a licence for a university or college to operate.
Agency (QAA)Agency is, in the context of quality in higher education, shorthand for any organisation that undertakes any kind of monitoring, evaluation or review of the quality of higher education.
AssuranceAssurance of quality in higher education is a process of establishing stakeholder confidence that provision (input, process and outcomes) fulfils expectations or measures up to threshold minimum requirements.
AuditAudit, in the context of quality in higher education, is a process for checking that procedures are in place to assure quality, integrity or standards of provision and outcomes.
AwardIt is a prize something given to a person, a group of people, a service, a study programme, a institution, etc. to recognize excellence in a certain field; a certificate of excellence. An award may carry a monetary prize given to the recipient, but it may also simply be a public acknowledgment of excellence, without any tangible token or prize.
CertificationCertification is the process of formally acknowledging achievement or compliance: it can be used to signify the achievement of a service, or of an institution. For example: certification of libraries, dormitories, etc.
ClassificationClassification is the process of identifying types of institution based on their core functions or economic status.
ControlControl is the process of regulating or otherwise keeping a check on developments in higher education.
EmployabilityEmployability is the acquisition of attributes (knowledge, skills, and abilities) that make graduates more likely to be successful in their chosen occupations.
EnhancementEnhancement is a process of augmentation or improvement.
ENQAThe European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education. (www.enqa.eu(external link))
EQARThe European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education. (www.eqar.eu(external link))
ESGThe European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area were developed by the E4 Group. Comprising the European representative bodies of quality assurance agencies (ENQA(external link)), students (ESU(external link)), universities (EUA(external link)) and other higher education institutions (EURASHE(external link)), the E4 Group gathers the key stakeholders of quality assurance in higher education.
Evaluation (programme / institution)Evaluation is a process that uses people external to the programme or institution (and even services) to evaluate quality or standards, a generic term for most forms of quality review, enquiry or exploration. Programme evaluation is a process of reviewing the quality or standards of a coherent set of study modules. Institutional evaluation is a process of reviewing the quality or standards of an intuition as a whole, in general enhancement oriented.
Experts' poolAn experts’ pool is a group of people with experience and knowledge in determinate field, in our case in QA. The pools function rather as a database of people who participate in quality assurance reviews. This pools use to be consulted about QA topics by the organisation owner of the pool for policy development, due to the potential of this expertise.
GovernanceGovernance refers to the way in which QA agencies are organised and operate internally and their relationships with external entities with a view to securing the objectives of higher education as a realm of enquiry and critique.
Label (quality label)A Quality Label recognises and rewards a person, a group of people, a service, a study programme, a institution, etc. to recognize excellence in a certain field.
MobilityMobility is shorthand for students and graduates studying and working in other institutions, whether in the same country or abroad.
Ranking / League TableRanking is a term used to refer to the rating and ordering of higher education institutions or programmes of study based on various criteria.
RecognitionFormal acknowledgement of previous learning, from informal as well as formal learning situations.
StandardsStatements of an expected level against which quality is assessed, or that must be attained by higher education institutions/programmes in order for them to be accredited. Standards may take a quantitative or qualitative form, When quantitative, the standards include threshold levels that have to be met in order for higher education institutions or programmes to be accredited.