Standard practice

June 18, 1999

We welcome your survey of attitudes ("Dons get tough on standards", THES, June 11) as confirmation of the sector's commitment to do a good job for its students.

But your leader was confusing about the role in this of teaching quality assessment. TQA attempts to measure performance against each institution's own objectives. The narrative of the report is useful mainly for enhancement of institutional practice. It is fallacious to use TQA information for inter-institutional comparisons. It does not address comparability of standards. The external examining system is the key to this.

Through the work the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals has asked the Quality Assurance Agency to do on standards following Dearing, it will become possible to make objective judgements when the new approach is producing results using benchmark information, programme specifications and the qualifications frameworks.

The QAA is making remarkably rapid progress in this work. There are many detailed issues still to be resolved, but we do not doubt the QAA's ultimate success.

Diana Warwick Chief executive, CVCP

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