The paper discusses the current status of one of the traditional methods of external quality assurance in European higher education, the institutional quality audit. Taking its point of departure in a recent booklet about the method by the agency-based ‘Quality Audit Network’, the paper asks whether today’s audits, via their steering of institutional QA systems, relate sufficiently well to the educational quality of actual provision. Have institutional QA systems, and the auditing of these, become too large and unfocused, more concerned with performance by statistical indicators than with educational quality? Is the stress too much on ‘quality strategy’ and ‘quality policy’ at the institutional level, at the expense of didactic practice at the programme level? A slimmer and more focused approach, based primarily on information from the level of delivery and audited in a more investigative way, is indicated.
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