Quality throughout

August 12, 2005

Your article about the recruitment of assessors for degree-awarding powers and university title (DAP/UT) applications suggests that they do not need to be trained Quality Assurance Agency reviewers ("Inspectors sought, no experience necessary", August 5).

This is not so. All our assessors are experienced, trained and briefed before undertaking their work. They may or may not have had direct experience as institutional auditors, which is just one of our review methods.

But the cited "leaked letter" (no more than a call for expressions of interest) makes it clear that assessors should have "seniority, breadth and depth of higher education experience". They are not inspectors: their role is to collect, analyse and report information, not to make recommendations or judgments. Our assessments are rigorous, extensive and overseen by a committee of vice-chancellors, principals and senior independent members.

The assessors provide high-quality analysis and advice that enable QAA's board to make its recommendations to the Secretary of State with confidence.

Peter Williams, chief executive, QAA

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