When Means Become Ends: Quality Assurance as New Public Management
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionICERI proceedings. 2017, 0458-0462.
The higher education sector has undergone unprecedented changes over the last 15-20 years. One notable feature has been the introduction of national qualifications frameworks (NQF) to make higher education systems more compatible with each other. Since 1999, the Bologna process has been instrumental in setting directions and ensuring progress and in this area. The current study sheds light on key issues of qualifications frameworks and learning outcomes by drawing on a national evaluation study comprising 127 undergraduate programmes in six academic disciplines at 32 institutions. The conclusions of this study are concerning, since learning outcomes often appeared almost identical to descriptors in NQF while at the same time communicating poorly what students can and are able to do. These and other issues are analysed in light of generic features of qualifications frameworks.