Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 9, No. 1 (2012)

Tertiary education quality perceptions in developed countries, during and after a half-century of internal evaluations

Samanthala Hettihewa, University of Ballarat
Christopher S Wright, University of Adelaide

Abstract

Increased use of internal evaluations in tertiary education (TE) since the 1960s appears to have been insufficient to stem rising anxiety over TE quality. This study uses a mixed-methods approach to evaluate perceptions of TE-quality changes in developed countries. Relevant literature and other sources are analysed to identify trends and develop an overview. Responses to a questionnaire by academics in several Australian TE institutions provide a quantitatively-corroborated perspective on TE-quality changes. The vast majority of responding academics feel that TE quality: has declined over the past decades, continues to decline, and needs improvement. Responders also generally perceive that: 1) Revenue needs aggravate conflicts and crowd-out teaching inputs; and 2) An over-reliance on student evaluations can encourage unfair decisions that can impair pedagogy and teaching quality. Further research in TE quality is needed to provide a firm foundation for a policy response to enhance stakeholder confidence in TE quality.

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