What is quality assurance and why is it important to the UA? Quality Assurance involves a range of review procedures that safeguards that academic standards and student services and facilities meet acceptable quality levels. There are internal and external quality assurance procedures. The external review procedure involves a site visit and review by an external agency which leads to accreditation. The internal review procedures involve assessment, evaluation, planning improvement actions, implementing, and repeating this cycle with assessment again. At the University of Aruba, basic quality levels as published by the Dutch NVAO Accreditation Agency serve as important guard rails for assessing, evaluating, and improving its educational programs.
Quality assurance in the UA can be seen as consisting of a cycle of 4 phases:
- assessment (measurement)
Within each of these phases the ideal is to build in continuous reflection by all relevant stakeholders.
 Beleidsnota Kwaliteitszorg Universiteit van Aruba, November 2006
Planning at an institution of higher education involves the design of a multi-year strategic plan strategic. This plan is then translated into a yearly plan at both the institutional level and the faculty level.
|QA Data Gathering for Feedback, Analysis and Reflection, and Improvement|
|Dimensions||Educational Program||Organization and Infrastructure|
The results of the assessment need to be evaluated against standards. Establishing standards helps design a process of quality improvement and provides a benchmark against which to monitor progress.
- academic standards, which measure the student’s ability to meet a specified level of academic attainment;
- service standards, which assess service provided by the institution; and
- quality standards, which describe the norms or expectations expressed in formal statements about the desired practice, eg., those described by the NVAO criteria.
Quality improvement usually refers to a cyclical process of agreement on a set of standards and/or goals, gathering relevant information, evaluating feedback and ensuring the implementation of change. The PDCA cycle is a simple process that stands for plan (assess and evaluate the present and then set goals with action plans), do (implement the plan), check (verify the effectiveness of the implementation based on data gathered), and act (take appropriate actions based on conclusions drawn and implement on a wider scale). At this point, the cycle starts again.