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For the Quality Model described here the broad context is European Higher Education. However, each national context will be different with differing levels of institutional autonomy, formal quality assurance management and internal processes to support quality enhancement. Thus the engagement with and articulation of quality will vary across member states and the processes described here will be implemented in a variety of ways in response to these different contexts. This is illustrated in the following case study which compares three examples: UK, Poland and France

Three case study examples

National frameworks for quality assurance

UK, University of Ulster

In setting up their measures for ensuring the maintenance of standards and the enhancement of quality, universities are responding to national requirements as mediated through the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), which has responsibility for ensuring quality in UK HE as a whole and which conducts regular audits of all HE providers. While it expects all institutions to have a robust system in place, each institution is able to create processes for ensuring quality that meet its needs. All HE institutions in the UK thus have systems for ensuring quality and standards but there are differences between institutions in the nature of the systems used and in their application. The QAA conducts regular audits of universities, looking at procedures and systems for the assurance of quality and how these impact on the quality of provision and the student experience in subject areas. It has sets of written guidelines for different aspects of university work and interaction with students. These are described as ‘the academic infrastructure’. Universities are expected to take account of these in framing their own procedures and regulations.

Institution-led Quality Assurance

Poland, University of Warsaw (UW): The Law on HE provides that language education constitutes a compulsory part of all first cycle degree programmes and like the entirety of provision it should be quality assured. The quality assurance and enhancement measures instituted in the University System of Language Provision have been designed to take into account the Resolution of the Academic Senate on Quality of Teaching (to include information on curricula & syllabi, assessment criteria, classroom observations, induction of newly employed teaching staff, and student surveys) implemented at the level of individual organisational units of the University. The Resolution has been inspired by the Bologna Process objectives and actions incorporated into the Law on HE. The QA measures are related to the Standards and guidelines for QA in the EHEA and comprise the following aspects: policy and QA procedures, approval, monitoring and periodical review of programmes and outcomes, assessment of students, QA of teaching staff, resources and support for students, IT support systems, publication of information.

France, Charles de Gaulle University: In 2002 it was decided at national level that the study of at least one foreign language is compulsory in the new BA and MA programmes, a requirement extended to PhD programmes as well, at institutional level. This meant that learning outcomes had to be identified, as well as modes of assessment, and the relation between the teaching and learning of the main subjects of study and the teaching and learning of foreign languages had to be considered. As part of the language policy, Charles-de-Gaulle University – Lille 3 plays an important part in coordinating the teaching/learning of foreign languages in the six universities that form the Académie Nord – Pas-de-Calais. Academic staff and the language policy official representative are responsible for the coordination of quality assurance in the region.

In addition to the quality context it is helpful to take account of a range of other factors when considering the context for a learning activity. For example, with the exception of English the choice of target language may be influenced by local or national, geography (e.g. neighbour countries or border communities) demography (e.g. numbers of migrants), policy (e.g. official languages or protection of heritage languages) or values (e.g. which languages have greatest cultural capital) which can affect the status, availability or attractiveness of particular languages.

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This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

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