• Higher Education Review

Higher Education Review

The overall aim of Higher Education Review is to inform students and the wider public whether a provider meets the expectations of the higher education sector for: the setting and/or maintenance of academic standards, the provision of learning opportunities, and the provision of information. Thus, Higher Education Review serves the twin purposes of providing accountability to students and others with an interest in higher education, while at the same time encouraging improvement.

Higher Education Review is a flexible system, which applies the greatest scrutiny where it is most needed. Higher Education Review is carried out by peer reviewers – staff from other providers. The reviewers are guided by a set of Expectations about the provision of higher education contained in the Quality Code.

Higher Education Review culminates in the publication of judgements. The provider is then obliged to produce an action plan in consultation with its own stakeholders, describing how it intends to respond to those findings. The overall aim of Higher Education Review is to inform students and the wider public as to whether a provider

  • Sets and maintains agreed academic standards for its higher education qualifications
  • Provides learning opportunities which allow students to achieve the relevant awards and qualifications and meet the applicable Expectations outlined in the Quality Code
  • Provides information that is fit for purpose, accessible and trustworthy for the general public, prospective students, current students, students on completion of their studies, and those with responsibility for academic standards and quality
  • Plans effectively to enhance the quality of its higher education provision.

To achieve these aims, we ask review teams to make judgements on:

  • The setting and/or maintenance of academic standards
  • The quality of students’ learning opportunities
  • Information about learning opportunities

The judgement on the setting and maintenance of academic standards is
expressed as one of the following:

meets expectations,

requires improvement to meet expectations or

does not meet expectations.

The judgements on learning opportunities and information will each be
expressed as one of the following:

commended, meets expectations,

requires improvement to meet expectations or

does not meet expectations.

The judgements ‘commended’ and ‘meets expectations’ are considered to be satisfactory judgements, whereas the judgements ‘requires improvement to meet expectations’ is conditional judgement and ‘does not meet expectations’ is unsatisfactory.

The judgements are made by teams of peers by reference to the Expectations in the Quality Code. Judgements represent the reasonable conclusions that a review team is able to come to, based on the evidence and time available. The review team will also identify features of good practice, affirm developments or plans already in progress and make recommendations for action. The recommendations will indicate the urgency with which the team thinks each recommendation should be addressed.