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


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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