Quality assurance and enhancement in higher education

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Quality assurance in education is a concept in its infancy stage in Pakistan. The concept has recently been introduced by HEC at universities in Pakistan. Till 05 years ago it was an alien subject and most of the faculty members specially institutes of higher learning were not only ignorant of the concept but were treating the notion of quality in education through faculty training and development as a step child.

The topic of the research "Quality enhancement in higher education through faculty training and development in the light of students' feedback". The focus of the study is to explore training needs of faculty of higher education by classifying courses taught in two broad categories of qualitative subjects and quantitative subjects.

The topic is of prime importance in determining which areas need improvement in quantitative subjects teachers and which areas need training for qualitative teachers.

The significance of the topic is that once training needs are identified in the light of students' feedback on the basis of teachers' performance and behavior in classrooms, then the possibility of developing and designing effective training workshop would be enhanced.

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The research is conducted in Karachi at the Commecs Institute of Business and Emerging Sciences on the students of BBA-4 year program which is spread over 48 courses in eight semesters. The program contains 119 quantitative courses and 267 qualitativecourses that are theory based.

The research is being carried out to determine whether teachers of quantitative and qualitative subjects need same type of training or do they need different type of training to improve their classroom performance as teachers of higher learning institutes. It is observed that generally there is no emphasis on faculty training and development and if there is some emphasis then it is one training for all teachers.

Literature Review

The article titled Cross-evaluation of degree programmes in higher education study seeks to develop and describe the benchmarking approach of enhancement-led evaluation in higher education and to present a cross-evaluation process for degree programmes. The research was carried out in 2008 in Finland. The benchmarking approach used was based on self-evaluation, evaluation visits and analyses. The findings of the research were that the cross-evaluation of degree programmes can result in recommendations not only for the improvement of the degree programme, but also for that of the whole institution and the evaluation process. The results of the study are useful for those who want to improve the quality culture of higher education institutions.

The paper identified the quality determinants for education services provided by higher education institutions (HEIs) in Greece in 2010 and to measure their relative importance from the students' points of view. A multi-criteria decision-making methodology was used for assessing the relative importance of quality determinants that affect student satisfaction. More specifically, the analytical hierarchical process (AHP) was used in order to measure the relative weight of each quality factor. The findings included the relative weights of the factors that contribute to the quality of educational services as it is perceived by students was measured. The research is based on the questionnaire of the Hellenic Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. This implies that the measured weights are related mainly to questions posed in this questionnaire. However, the applied method (AHP) can be used to assess different quality determinants. The outcome of this study can be used in order to quantify internal quality assessment of HEIs. More specifically, the outcome can be directly used by HEIs for assessing quality as perceived by students.

The paper titled International Comparisons and Trends in External Quality Assurance of Higher Education: Commonality or Diversity? explores international comparisons of the extent of commonality or diversity in the main national external quality assurance frameworks for higher education. The research has been carried out in Europe in 2004. The study extended the European survey the survey, tapping other comparative reports. The findings include that a 'general model' of external quality assurance does not universally apply, but that most elements of it do apply in most countries. It concluded that the 'general model' provides a `starting point from which to map deviations. In each country, there may be specific additions of elements or omissions from the model, but more usually there are modifications or extensions of elements. The paper proposes efforts to produce an international scheme for external quality assurance of higher education, and the applicability of the 'general model' to the transfer of quality assurance frameworks from country to country.

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The paper titled Delivering higher education to meet local needs in a developing context: the quality dilemmas? discussed the quality perspective of the university within the contexts of the needs of its catchment community and quality requirements of other stakeholders guided by issues arising from the questions of who really should define quality, in what context, for whose benefit, and with whose resources. The study was carried out at the Institute for Work Based Learning, Middlesex University, London, UK in 2010. The paper takes a qualitative approach using semi-structured interviews, documentary and artefacts to generate data from the University for Development Studies -UDS. The findings were that although donors play a crucial role in ensuring quality but the basis for any effective quality should move beyond the traditional precepts to make it reflect local needs and realities within an international context guided by effective quality monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. The paper provides practical suggestions of appropriate quality assurance models for higher education institutions in the developing world.

The study titled Improving management education discussed an outsider's view of how management education can be significantly improved. The study was conducted in USA. The design and methodology focused on correcting several obvious deficiencies in courses and degree programs to create highly differentiated educational experiences that are more relevant to student's needs and the organizations that employ graduates. The study proposed a suite of 11 interconnected improvements as well as a fundamental-structuring of the MBA program designed to simplify it, provide greater focus, improve relevancy, and impart needed thematic consistency. The suite of 11 improvements and proposed MBA program curriculum changes offers an alternate route for preparing students for future global business challenges. The proposed improvements are intended to serve as a foundation for discussion and debate, and hopefully future action as well.

The purpose of this paper was to utilize quality function deployment (QFD),

Benchmarking analyses and other innovative quality tools to develop a new customer-centered undergraduate curriculum in supply chain management (SCM).The researchers used potential employers as the source for data collection. Then, they used QFD and benchmarking to develop a Voice of Customer matrix. Using information from the matrix, a new customer-oriented SCM undergraduate programme was designed. The findings outlined a practical solution to the problem of designing academic programmes which satisfy the main expectations of potential employers (customers).The application of QFD and benchmarking as a joint analysis tool is an interesting approach in education because the information is analysed from different perspectives simultaneously. The new programme successfully meets customer/employer expectations and requirements. The approach can clearly be extended to other areas for the design of specific courses and programmes. The most important needs in programme design are those of identifying the programme's main customers and of clarifying their expectations.

The purpose of the paper titled Course evaluations: a tendency to respond "favourably" on scales? was to investigate a possible favourable response pattern on scaled forms used as a means of evaluating training courses. |The study was carried out in UK. The approach used included the study of evaluation forms completed by 879 students attending 15 university level courses and 531students at school and exacting test for a favourable response tendency using attitude scales. This involved 212 teachers who were asked about their willingness to include "children with special needs" in their classes.It was found that the majority of students in part one responded at the favourable end of the evaluation scales. This is an important issue as scales are frequently used to collect studentfeedback and also to measure attitude change as a result of training courses, in universities, colleges and industry.

The purpose of this paper was to critically analyze the value of the written comments section on student evaluations of teaching and develop a framework to improve the interpretability of such data. the study was carried out in USA in 2011. The study reviewed past investigations into the reliability and interpretability of student evaluations of teaching, and then constructs a framework that can potentially improve the value of data gathered from written comments. It was shown that including information about the congruence of the comment writer's empirical ratings with those of the average class participant may help instructors separate thoughtful comments that represent the majority sentiment from attitudes of a vocal minority or those with personal biases. The proposed scheme can be implemented electronically while preserving the confidentiality of the evaluators. The paper offers constructive suggestions on improving the written comments section, a component of student evaluations of teaching that has so far received little systematic appraisal.

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the purpose of the paper was to explore the relationship between bad teaching and good teaching in graduate memories. |The research was carried out in Australia in 2006. The study was based in part on a survey of graduates from an earlier generation filtered through current theories of student approaches to learning. The findings of the research was that students describe good teaching and bad teaching insignificantly different registers. There was almost no overlap in the vocabulary with which they describe the two. The study offers some information about how articulate graduates think about their education 25 years later.

The paper titled The dilemma of internal evaluation in higher education: a longitudinal case study, aimed to report the process and outcomes of a case study which introduced internal evaluation procedures into academic departments of a university in Iran. The purpose of the study was to identify what benefits could arise from using internal evaluation, and what obstacles existed to its successful introduction. The methods of data collection included interviews, group discussions and workshops. It was concluded in the study that internal evaluation processes are potentially valuable in Iranian universities but, if this value is to be realized on a continuous basis, particularly in the absence of external evaluation as an incentive, then it needs to become an integral part of each department, university. The paper is of value because there is considerable interest in systems of internal evaluation in universities, but there are few studies in developing countries and, in particular, there is no previous research in Iran

Methodology

The study is carried out through a survey conducted through a questionnaire. The questionnaire containing 17 questions about teachers' performance in different areas were designed. The questionnaires were distributed among the students in a control group environment. The questionnaire was designed on Likert Skate where students were told to mark 01 for minimum score and 05 for maximum score in response to any question.

Marks given by all students to a given question were added and its percentage score out of the maximum score was calculated. For e.g. in question no. 1 total marks awarded by 20 students were 80 out of a maximum score of 100, resulting in 80% scoring. This 80% score was taken as input data for the analysis of question no. 1.

The data was collected from 500 students ranging in the age brackets of 17-21 years of age. Out of the total 500students 150 were girls and 350 were boys. The students were from BBA semester one to semester eight. Seventeen variables were included in the questionnaire. These variables included lecture organization, white board usage, instructions clarity, teachers' check on given tasks, students motivation enhancement due to teacher, teachers' guidance in classroom task completion, class control, encouragement and appreciation for self-help, friendly yet firm attitude of teacher, meeting deadlines, command over written communication, clarity of voice, use of decent language, simplifying abstract ideas, empathy towards students and displaying a good sense of humor.

These variables were identified through literature review on follows:

Staton-Spicer, AnnQ. And White, Cheryl R. Marty (1981) A framework for instructional theory: There relationship between teacher communication concerns and classroom behavior, Communication Education, 30:4, 354-386. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03634528109378491

They identified that teachers are concerned about communication in classroom and their behavior is directed and affected by what they think of their communication role and teachers classroom communication behavior is directed and affected by their concerns about communication.

In his study Christopher, Diane M. and Gorhan Joan (1995) "A test retest analysis of student motivation, teacher immediately and perceived sources of motivation and demotivation in college classes", Communication Education, 44:4, 292-306. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03634529509379020. They conclude that students perceive teacher behavior as one factor, but only one Factor, contributing to their overall motivation to do their best in college courses and those negative teachers' behaviors are perceived as more central to students' demotivation them positive behaviors are perceived as central to their motivation. The also conclude that state motivation levels are classroom environments.

Waddeck, Jennifer H. (2007) 'Answering the Question: Student Perception of Personalized Education and the Construct's Relationship to Learning Outcomes' Communication Education, 56:4, 409-432 mentions that the most frequently cited category was Instructor Shares this / Her time outside of class for providing help to individual students.In his study Graves, Gregory H. (2009) 'How are you Doing? Assessing Effectiveness in Teaching Mathematics', PRIMUS, 19:2, 174-193 identifies creation of positive atmosphere by the instructor as the most important and time consuming effort.

In his study Hunt, Stephen (2002), 'Communication and Teacher Education: Exploring a communication course for All Teachers', Communication Education 51:1, 81-94 proposed that communication course training is essential in day to day functioning of teachers and argues that communication educators as well as those in the education discipline must begin to promoted communication training for all teachers. Banerjee, Anil C. and Vidyapati, T.J. (1997) 'Effect of lecture and Cooperative Learning Strategies on Achievement in Chemistry in Undergraduate Classes', International Journal of Science Education 19:8, 903-910 concluded that lecture and cooperative learning reports same level of achievements in students. Christensen, Edith E. (1986) 'Teacher Evaluation - who needs it?' Rooeper Review, 9:1, 19-23. URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/027883198609552998 listed student teacher iteration, classroom management, nonverbal behaviors,and instructional program as areas included in teacher evaluation. Hence these areas have been included in our questionnaire.

Maria Tsinidou, Vassilis Georgiannis and Panos Fitsilis' Evaluation of the factors that determine quality', Quality Assurance in Education, Vol. 18 No. 3, 2010, PP 227-244 presented a model of the components of quality education and listed communication skills, friendliness as the major criteria for academic staff i.e. faculty hence the above tow criteria has been used in the questionnaire.Provide a 'top-down' description of the main ideas, followed by a 'bottom-up' construction of the details and stop from time to time and link a current step of the talk of the plan of which it is a part. This was proposed by Movshovitz - Hadar, Nitsa and Hazzam, Orit (2004). How to present it? On the rhetoric of an outstanding lecture;, International Journal of Mathematical Education in Science and Technology, 35:6, 813-827.