Letter: Quality straits (4)

September 7, 2001

Reading between the lines, it looks as though Lewis Elton (Letters, THES , August 31) is claiming some credit for the recent QAA proposals for an audit scheme.

The idea is by no means new, and lay at the heart of the argument in my 1995 booklet Maintaining the Quality of University Education that external assessment of teaching quality was appropriate only where an audit demonstrated that an institution had failed to discharge its own responsibility for quality assurance.

I would be surprised if the QAA ever adopts another suggestion in my booklet that institutions should be free to choose from a range of audit providers. Since audit has been in operation for over a decade, there is a considerable body of expertise that would enable the establishment of alternative audit providers, working to a template agreed with Universities UK and the funding councils.

Robert Pearce
Deputy vice-chancellor
University of Buckingham

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