Quality Assessment in Higher Education

Quality Assessment is the process the higher education funding bodies use to gain assurance about the quality of learning and teaching at a higher education provider. Quality is assessed at provider level and the quality system that the provider falls under depends on where it is located and what type of provider it is.

For publicly-funded universities and further education colleges delivering higher education in England and Northern Ireland, the core mechanism for assessing quality is the Annual Provider Review process, which was managed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland (DfENI). The Annual Provider Review draws on existing data and information (such as National Student Survey data), and uses indicators and metrics in a rounded and contextualised way to form its judgement. It provides assurances about quality in these providers to students and to others with an interest in the secure operation of the higher education system. It provides confidence in high-quality provision and reliable degree standards for all students, and evidence that each provider is taking any necessary actions to improve the quality of the academic experience and outcomes for its own students. For recent entrants to the sector, the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) will also carry out a Quality Review Visit on behalf of HEFCE or DfENI.

For alternative providers in England, quality is assessed through an external quality assurance review carried out by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA).

For higher education providers in Scotland quality is assessed through an Enhancement-led Institutional Review carried out by QAA Scotland as part of the Quality Enhancement Framework.

For higher education providers in Wales quality is assessed through an external quality assurance review as part of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales. The most recent QAA review acts as the external review for Welsh institutions.

You can find out more about the national quality requirements here: