Issues in the protection of academic standards: Assuring quality assurance in asse ssment

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Author(s)Alison Kuiper
Teaching and learning are at the heart of the academic enterprise which is higher education. Students attend universities and other institutions of higher learning in order to learn and to earn qualifications; these institutions provide learning opportunities for students and assess the progress the learners have made towards standard goals. Assuring the integrity of the assessment process is thus a key issue for all institutions of higher learning. Particularly challenging for quality assurance in assessment are access to modern technologies and the diverse nature of the internationalised student body in a globalised world where people move readily from one country to another, both as students and learners, and as graduates. Globalisation of this kind also poses challenges to the integrity of assessment processes and the need to be able to verify the quality of the degrees graduates hold. This paper considers the importance of academic integrity and discusses the changing nature of the challenges faced by universities. It provides illustrations of some of the problems faced by those, such as University Proctors, who are charged with dealing with issues of dishonest academic practice. It then presents a case study from a New Zealand university of setting up a quality system to deal with the integrity of assessment practice and examples of dealing with other issues of dishonest academic practice. While they need to be applied with judgement and flexibility, at best, quality assurance measures not only discourage bad practice but also highlight to staff and students the importance of individual thought and work to the academic enterprise.
CategoriesQuality of HE » 2006 1st EQAF