Higher Education Quality Assurance

A special issue of Education Sciences (ISSN 2227-7102). This special issue belongs to the section "Higher Education".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 28011

Special Issue Editors

Department of Electrical Engineering, Information and Measurement Technologies, Chernihiv Polytechnic National University, 14035 Chernihiv, Ukraine
Interests: accreditation processes; quality assurance; teaching and learning; higher education; power electronics; electrical engineering; renewable energy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Vice-Head of National Agency for Higher Education Quality Assurance, 01001 Kyiv, Ukraine
Interests: higher education; higher education quality assurance; teaching and learning; sustainable development; international finance; international business
Head of Development and International Cooperation Unit, Quality Agency for Higher Education, Riga, Latvia
Interests: higher education policy; governance; internal and external quality assurance; teaching and learning; stakeholders’ engagement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Quality assurance mechanisms are indispensable for any process. Higher education is a significant social process with a great impact on the course of a given economy and society. Quality assurance is an integral part of higher education processes. The qualitative and quantitative assessment of the inputs, outputs, operations and infrastructure of these processes have been a point of concern and debate for all educational systems. Over the last decade, the experience accumulated from the implementation of such mechanisms has been greatly enhanced by the adoption of ENQA guidelines for quality assurance in higher education by EU member states in order to align higher education systems with different origins and backgrounds with the goals of EU policies. Under the tightening of internationalization, which was jeopardized by global pandemic challenges, the continuous development of digitalization became an urgent part of modern life. New modes of education provision are appearing, and higher education quality assurance is gaining special importance.

Therefore, this Special Issue on higher education quality assurance aims:

- To serve as a platform for exchanging practices that can be piloted and used by various higher education stakeholders;
- To critically review the most actual issues in higher education quality assurance;
- To contribute to the discussion on the inputs, outputs and methodology of quality monitoring, on the specific goals of quality assurance in conjunction with the role of higher education today, and on the benchmarking of quality assurance practices applied by various stakeholders;
- To share and exchange experience across various systems of higher education concerning quality assurance mechanisms and their implementation to new and existing courses, study programs, faculties, and universities;
- To describe the best practices in addressing academic integrity issues as a part of the internal and external quality assurance in education and science;
- To provide an insight into the current best practices in higher education quality assurance across the European Higher Education Area and beyond.

The full scale of the effects of the pandemic will become evident in the following years. However, some trends have already emerged, and there may be researchers who are addressing them, while there certainly is an audience for such questions. Therefore, additional focus is on the challenges for quality assurance in pandemic times and cross-border quality assurance in higher education.

Dr. Serhii Stepenko
Prof. Dr. Nataliia Stukalo
Ms. Asnate Kažoka
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Education Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 980 KiB  
Article
Incentivizing Student Participation in QAS Questionnaires: An Evaluation of a Guaranteed Prize System at the University of Malaga
Educ. Sci. 2024, 14(3), 216; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci14030216 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 220
Abstract
This paper investigates the effects of a guaranteed prize incentive, in the form of an extra score, on student engagement in the quality assurance system (QAS) questionnaires employed for evaluating teaching performance at the University of Malaga. The incentive system aims to counteract [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the effects of a guaranteed prize incentive, in the form of an extra score, on student engagement in the quality assurance system (QAS) questionnaires employed for evaluating teaching performance at the University of Malaga. The incentive system aims to counteract declining participation rates and mitigate potential survey fatigue among students. Employing a comprehensive dataset spanning multiple academic years and subjects, the study utilized statistical analyses to evaluate the incentive’s effectiveness, considering its potential impact on both final grades and QAS questionnaire outcomes. The results demonstrate a substantial increase in participation rates, with over 85% of students acknowledging the motivating influence of the incentive. However, concerns regarding the compromise of anonymity arose among 40% of students, possibly linked to the physical presence of teachers during the verification process of the QAS questionnaire submission. The statistical analyses raise questions about the incentive’s influence on students’ final grades while indicating that the incentive system does not significantly affect the results of the QAS questionnaires. The study contributes valuable insights into the complexities of incentivizing student participation in teaching assessments within the higher education landscape. To the best of our knowledge, there are few publications that investigate the use of an additional score as an incentive for students’ participation in QAS questionnaires. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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17 pages, 2370 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Online Learning Issues within the Higher Education Quality Assurance Frame: ‘Pandemic Lessons’ to Address the Hard Time Challenges
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(12), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13121193 - 28 Nov 2023
Viewed by 820
Abstract
Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this study conducts a rigorous analysis of the online learning landscape within higher education. It scrutinizes the manifold issues that emerged during the era of quarantine restrictions, investigating the perspectives and experiences of students and [...] Read more.
Amid the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, this study conducts a rigorous analysis of the online learning landscape within higher education. It scrutinizes the manifold issues that emerged during the era of quarantine restrictions, investigating the perspectives and experiences of students and academic staff in this transformative educational paradigm. Employing a comprehensive suite of research methodologies, including content analysis, observation, comparative analysis, questionnaires, correlation studies, and statistical and graphical methods, this research unearths the substantial challenges faced by participants in online learning. It meticulously evaluates the advantages and limitations of this pedagogical shift during the pandemic, probing into satisfaction levels regarding the quality of online instruction and the psychological aspects of adapting to new learning environments. Moreover, this study offers practical recommendations to address the identified challenges and proposes solutions. The findings serve as invaluable insights for higher education management, particularly within the framework of quality assurance, equipping administrators with the requisite tools and strategies to confront the extraordinary challenges that have arisen in contemporary higher education. These lessons gleaned from the crucible of the pandemic’s trials also hold a unique promise. The results of this research are not confined to a singular crisis but carry a profound implication: the effective application of online learning, even under the most arduous conditions. These ‘pandemic lessons’ become the guiding light for resilient education in the face of any adversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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16 pages, 1041 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Impact of Front-Line Employees’ Extra Role Behavior on Student Loyalty and Retention in a Semi-Government University in the UAE
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(10), 997; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13100997 - 28 Sep 2023
Viewed by 911
Abstract
This study aims to investigate the relationship between front-line employees’ (FLEs) extra-role behavior (ERB) and its influence on student satisfaction (SS), student loyalty (SL), and university image (UI), while also examining the moderating effect of student cynicism (SC). Drawing on the service profit [...] Read more.
This study aims to investigate the relationship between front-line employees’ (FLEs) extra-role behavior (ERB) and its influence on student satisfaction (SS), student loyalty (SL), and university image (UI), while also examining the moderating effect of student cynicism (SC). Drawing on the service profit chain model, this research proposes a positive relationship between ERB and SS, SL, and UI, with SC acting as a moderator for the relationship between ERB and SS. Using a survey research design, the study was conducted at a semi-government university in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) during a service encounter between FLEs and students, involving 251 students as respondents. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the data collected. The findings demonstrated a significant positive relationship between FLE ERB and SS, SL, and UI. Additionally, the study revealed that SC moderates the relationship between FLE ERB and SS, suggesting that highly cynical students are less responsive to employee extra-role behavior. These findings have significant implications for university management and policymakers. By understanding the impact of FLE ERB on student outcomes and the moderating effect of SC, universities can develop and strengthen targeted strategies to enhance SS, SL, and UI. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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25 pages, 1217 KiB  
Article
A Novel Strategic Approach to Evaluating Higher Education Quality Standards in University Colleges Using Multi-Criteria Decision-Making
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(6), 577; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13060577 - 04 Jun 2023
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1564
Abstract
Universities worldwide strive to achieve excellence in research, learning, teaching, and community services, which are the pillars of their strategic plans. However, satisfying international ranking criteria might not directly result in achieving their strategic objectives. This paper proposes a new approach to rank [...] Read more.
Universities worldwide strive to achieve excellence in research, learning, teaching, and community services, which are the pillars of their strategic plans. However, satisfying international ranking criteria might not directly result in achieving their strategic objectives. This paper proposes a new approach to rank university colleges by evaluating their educational quality. Standard sets of criteria from multiple international university ranking systems and a university’s strategic plan’s Balanced Scorecard perspectives were cross-mapped for the evaluation. A new multi-criteria decision-making-based framework was applied to six colleges of a non-profit university in the Middle East. It revealed their performance rankings and contributions to the university’s educational quality objectives. This paper offers a novel approach for universities to develop strategies that satisfy multiple international ranking systems while achieving their strategic goals concurrently and as per their priorities. Implications include informing university leaders on the most contributing colleges and assisting in pinpointing quality shortcomings and their causes. This helps universities design better performance indicators and allocate resources to achieve educational excellence. This paper puts forward a new approach for universities to unify their efforts in satisfying the requirements of multiple international ranking systems while achieving their strategic goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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27 pages, 745 KiB  
Article
A Maturity Matrix Model to Strengthen the Quality Cultures in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(2), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13020123 - 25 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
This article approaches quality assurance in higher education from the perspective of quality culture. We present a concept model of quality culture that incorporates both the structural/managerial elements of the educational context as well as individual and interpersonal dynamics. The model highlights the [...] Read more.
This article approaches quality assurance in higher education from the perspective of quality culture. We present a concept model of quality culture that incorporates both the structural/managerial elements of the educational context as well as individual and interpersonal dynamics. The model highlights the importance of leadership, communication and information in connecting both sides of the educational praice. Our approach is unique in that it provides an interactive instrument to map, discuss and advance the existing quality cultures in cocreation with the educational actors. This instrument consists of a face-valid blueprint of the concept of quality culture. This blueprint is enriched by identifying the characteristics for less and more mature quality cultures. The feasibility of the instrument was tested in a pilot study with 13 appreciative in-depth interviews. We found that this instrument allowed faculty members and programme directors to grasp and co-create the profile of their existing quality culture. By using the appreciative approach, stimulating dialogue and reflection, our concept of quality culture aims to structure, scaffold and strengthen the continuous strive for educational quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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16 pages, 798 KiB  
Article
Model Proposal for Service Quality Assessment of Higher Education: Evidence from a Developing Country
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(1), 83; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13010083 - 12 Jan 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2261
Abstract
Higher education institutions must generate added value through the continuous improvement of services offered to the academic community. Students’ needs and expectations must be met to increase their satisfaction within the system. Bearing this in mind, this paper proposes a service quality assessment [...] Read more.
Higher education institutions must generate added value through the continuous improvement of services offered to the academic community. Students’ needs and expectations must be met to increase their satisfaction within the system. Bearing this in mind, this paper proposes a service quality assessment model for higher education institutions in developing countries. In total, 845 questionnaires were self-administered by university students. The instrument was composed of 119 closed questions. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was applied to create the proposed model. An 18-component model resulted from the data analysis, with an emphasis on academic aspects, infrastructure, web services, wellbeing, and financial procedures. It is expected that higher education institutions in other developing countries may validate, replicate, and adapt this model to their needs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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13 pages, 908 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Academic Aspect Quality on Student Disengagement in Higher Education
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(8), 507; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12080507 - 25 Jul 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2363
Abstract
Higher education (HE) in developing countries like Vietnam has shown to be a growing sector even under the worldwide impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the typical characteristics of education in general and HE in particular, there is a crucial issue [...] Read more.
Higher education (HE) in developing countries like Vietnam has shown to be a growing sector even under the worldwide impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, due to the typical characteristics of education in general and HE in particular, there is a crucial issue for HE institutes in balancing growing objectives as a service business and quality assurance objectives including student engagement. The current literature still lacks studies on student disengagement in HE as it focuses on the positive valence of engagement. Hence, this study aims to determine the impact of perceived academic aspect quality (PAAQ) on student disengagement (SD) intention and actual behavior under the lens of extended TRA. The results of our structural equation model reveal the full mediating role of student dissatisfaction in the relationship between PAAQ on SD intention. Once the students have the intention to disengage in learning tasks, they are most likely to act on it. Perceived disengaged behavior cost is robustly proved as a key driver of SD behavior intention and actual disengagement behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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15 pages, 489 KiB  
Article
An Experimental Study on the Effectiveness of Students’ Learning in Scientific Courses through Constructive Alignment—A Case Study from an MIS Course
Educ. Sci. 2022, 12(5), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci12050338 - 11 May 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 6547
Abstract
This study aimed to explore students’ effectiveness in scientific courses that have adopted the framework of constructive alignment. The researchers conducted an experimental study in the education sector to compare two different teaching models—traditional and following constructive alignment—and used statistical tools to analyse [...] Read more.
This study aimed to explore students’ effectiveness in scientific courses that have adopted the framework of constructive alignment. The researchers conducted an experimental study in the education sector to compare two different teaching models—traditional and following constructive alignment—and used statistical tools to analyse differences in students’ learning effectiveness. The course “Management Information System” (MIS) was specifically chosen to investigate how constructive alignment initiatives used in the course influenced students’ learning effectiveness. Two groups of students were selected as the control group and the experimental group, respectively. In the experimental group, the intended learning outcomes, teaching and learning activities, and assessment tasks were always aligned by the instructor. The learning effectiveness of the two groups was evaluated by the Course Experience Questionnaire Survey and academic grades. After this study, it was found that significant improvement—in terms of students’ learning experience scores and academic grades—was seen in the experimental group compared with the control group. This study has further verified that implementing a constructive alignment template can significantly improve students’ learning effectiveness in scientific courses, hence providing theoretical and practical references for teaching and learning in scientific courses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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22 pages, 314 KiB  
Article
Formation of a Study Program in the Context of Conformity with the ESG (on the Material of the Analysis of Study Programs in Ukraine)
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 670; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110670 - 21 Oct 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1557
Abstract
The article discusses the issues of forming a study program in the context of the process’ compliance with the recommendations provided by Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), which are relevant for Ukrainian higher education. The [...] Read more.
The article discusses the issues of forming a study program in the context of the process’ compliance with the recommendations provided by Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), which are relevant for Ukrainian higher education. The study achieved its goal: the main prerequisites for the formation of the study program (SP) were analyzed, its structural and semantic parameters were determined, and a step-by-step model of concluding a quality study program in accordance with the ESG guidelines was suggested. The search for the materials on which the study was based was conducted using the following databases: scientometric (Scopus, Web of Science), the information system (online platform) of the National Agency for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (NAQA), and the “Legislation of Ukraine” database. Quantitative methods included an online questionnaire, qualitative methods included system analysis, and other comparative method were used. Due to the contradictions between the interpretations of the concepts at the level of legislation and internal regulations, a definition of the “formation of the study program” concept is suggested. The components of the SP formation process, the resources required for the formation of the quality SP, and an analysis of positive and negative practices from the NAQA accreditation procedure experience, based on which the optimal model of the SP as a dynamic system based on ESG guidelines was developed, which has a functional character and is based on theoretical generalization of the latest approaches and real cases of Ukrainian HEIs, were discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
15 pages, 259 KiB  
Article
Towards Sustainable Development through Higher Education Quality Assurance
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 664; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110664 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3795
Abstract
This study aims to identify the role of higher education quality assurance in achieving sustainable development goals. To support this aim, the following objectives were formulated: to discuss and summarize the best practices of QA agencies in promoting SDGs, to identify how Ukrainian [...] Read more.
This study aims to identify the role of higher education quality assurance in achieving sustainable development goals. To support this aim, the following objectives were formulated: to discuss and summarize the best practices of QA agencies in promoting SDGs, to identify how Ukrainian universities consider SDGs in their policies, to develop recommendations for internal, and external quality assurance systems regarding SDG achievement. This qualitative study is based on a case study, observation, and questionnaire methods. Ukrainian higher education quality assurance systems are taken as a case study for this article. Primary data are collected through an online questionnaire and observation of Ukrainian universities’ publicly available information regarding sustainable development activities at their official websites. Additionally, some publicly available documents, reports, and materials on the experience of foreign quality assurance agencies are also reviewed, compared, and contrasted. The results of the research can be used at national levels where higher education standards should include competence in sustainable development goals, at institutional level to improve HEIs’ quality assurance system, and at the study program level to include SDG consideration as one of the requirements during internal quality assurance procedures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
13 pages, 3430 KiB  
Article
The Quality of Training Future Teachers during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Case from TNPU
Educ. Sci. 2021, 11(11), 660; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci11110660 - 20 Oct 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2171
Abstract
This article describes the experience of the communicative competence formation of future teachers in a blended form of education as a dominant one in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main features of such terms as “education quality” and “communicative competence” are [...] Read more.
This article describes the experience of the communicative competence formation of future teachers in a blended form of education as a dominant one in the period of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main features of such terms as “education quality” and “communicative competence” are revealed; the peculiarities of their components and structure are described. Using the results of a survey the authors draw conclusions about the advantages and disadvantages of online and offline learning and the efficacy of technical learning tools. The article also describes the educational platforms and technical means most frequently used by teachers and students in their everyday life. The results of testing in philological and linguodidactic disciplines after online and offline learning are presented in the paper. Conclusions are made concerning the peculiarities of online and offline training by means of Moodle and Google Classroom learning platforms, as well as Viber, Telegram, Email, Zoom Cloud Meetings and other platforms. Considering the results of the survey of students on the usage of technical means in online learning, the authors provide suggestions on improving the quality of training future teachers. The discussion part of the article presents the questions for discussion concerning a blended form of training as an effective one during the COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusion states the advantages and disadvantages of mixed forms of learning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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16 pages, 812 KiB  
Systematic Review
Administrative Processes Efficiency Measurement in Higher Education Institutions: A Scoping Review
Educ. Sci. 2023, 13(9), 855; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci13090855 - 23 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1120
Abstract
Universities, like any organization, must attend to the needs of the environment to provide quality services. Among the various aspects related to educational quality, administrative efficiency management has gained interest in recent times. This is due to the need to optimize resources and [...] Read more.
Universities, like any organization, must attend to the needs of the environment to provide quality services. Among the various aspects related to educational quality, administrative efficiency management has gained interest in recent times. This is due to the need to optimize resources and streamline the daily operations of an educational institution. This scoping review examines how efficiency is being measured in Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). Taking as a reference the proposed methodology by Arksey and O’Malley and the PRISMA Scr (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses extension for Scoping Reviews) guide, we performed a search of the literature in the Scopus database from 2017 to 2022. As a result, different ways to measure administrative process efficiency were found, such as formulated models, methods, and indicators that show quantitative benefits. A significant finding was Lean or Six Sigma practices to improve administrative efficiency, in addition to the consideration of the interest group opinion through the application of measurement instruments to measure the impact on the user satisfaction level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education Quality Assurance)
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