One arm of INQAAHE’s mission is to develop and promote standards of professional practice in QA. The professional practices that INQAAHE believes should be embedded in all quality agencies are set out in the Guidelines of Good Practice in Quality Assurance (commonly referred to as GGP). Thus the purpose of the GGP is to promote good practice for internal and/or external quality assurance. Specific goals include:
- Creating a framework to guide the creation of new EQAAs
- Providing criteria for use in the self and external evaluation of EQAAs
- Promoting professional development among EQAAs and their staff
- Promoting public accountability of EQAAs
As more agencies demonstrate how their procedures relate to the Guidelines, this will facilitate mutual understanding of how EQAAs operate, leading to greater possibilities for collaboration, and eventually an increase in mutual recognition of agencies’ decisions.
The original Guidelines of Good Practice were published in 2003 and were revised in 2006 and in 2016. This revision reflects the experience of the institutions, programs, and reviewers who have used the 2003 version. It is intended to continue the INQAAHE process of permanent improvement. Comments on the Guidelines may be sent to the INQAAHE Secretariat at any time.
The Guidelines contain an introduction and four sections.
- Section I: The External Quality Assurance Agency (EQAA): Accountability, Transparency and Resources
- Section II: Institutions of Higher Education and the EQAA: Relationship, Standards and Internal Reviews
- Section III: EQAA Review of Institutions: Evaluation, Decision and Appeals
- Section IV: External Activities: Collaboration with Other Agencies and Transnational/Cross-Border Education
There are two basic pathways for a member agency to demonstrate its adherence to the GGP.
Procedure for REVIEW
The first pathway, REVIEW, is for the agency to apply for an external review by a team of experts selected by INQAAHE. In this process, the agency will prepare a self-assessment report and host an on-site team of reviewers who will submit a report to INQAAHE for the final decision regarding the agency’s alignment with the GGP.
Procedure for RECOGNITION
The second pathway, RECOGNITION, is for the agency to apply for acceptance of the agency’s adherence to the GGP by demonstrating that the agency has been reviewed against a set of standards or criteria set by a reputable, external organization (e.g., CHEA, ENQA) that are considered to be substantially equivalent to or exceed the requirements set forth in the GGP. This pathway requires INQAAHE to review the standards or criteria set by the external organization to determine if equivalency exists. The agency must provide evidence of the outcome of this review, including any report issued by the external organization. This pathway includes the possibility of requesting a joint review by both INQAAHE and another external agency (e.g., RIACES, ENQA, having in mind that preliminary agreement with the target organizations should be sought) simultaneously.
In all cases, the INQAAHE review will require submission of materials demonstrating how the agency meets the guidelines, along with an application review fee. In those cases where INQAAHE must select and organize a team of reviewers to conduct an on-site visit, additional fees will be incurred. The Board of INQAAHE uses external review reports to reach a conclusion on whether an agency has met the GGP.
Immediately upon receiving a member agency request for an alignment, the INQAAHE Secretariat will convene members of the GGP Alignment Group to inform them of the request and of possible next steps. In the final analysis, it will be this group that reviews the application, documentation, and any resulting team reports and makes a recommendation to the INQAAHE Board regarding whether an agency is aligned with the INQAAHE Guidelines of Good Practice.
As a service to its members, INQAAHE will, at the member’s request, record on the INQAAHE website any member agency that has been found to be comprehensively adhering to the INQAAHE Guidelines of Good Practice (GGP).