Location of Repository

Does Accreditation Assure Quality?

By Jeanny Wildi-Yune


This thesis delves into the question of whether accreditation can assure quality. To answer this, an accreditation scenario of a private international higher education institution is studied in depth. There are four principal objectives to the research question which are:\ud 1. To investigate how quality is conceptualised by various stakeholders\ud 2. To assess the effectiveness of accreditation standards\ud 3. To examine whether the accreditation process is valid, reliable and relevant, and\ud 4. To evaluate if the accreditation agency enacts what it purports to do.\ud Based on current theories and approaches to quality and quality assurance, certain elements are highlighted in the research process such as the use of quality standards, issues of accountability and continuous improvement, and the culture and context surrounding an accreditation event. The methodology used is one of participant observation applied to a case study. The occasion of the decennial reaccreditation of a for-profit Swiss school by an American accreditation agency serves as the field of research. Data were collected firsthand from the various constituents engaged in this reaccreditation. Fundamentally, the process comprised of self-evaluation and an on-site peer review, so there is focused discussion on these two critical audit methods and their interrelationship. The field notes are supplemented by longitudinal data representing the last twelve years of involvement in accreditation of the case study school including two other quality assurance approaches, one Swiss and the other, ISO.\ud After a review of the various school activities which come under the remit of the agency, the accreditation procedures are examined for validity, reliability and relevance. An analytic induction of the findings confirms that accreditation does indeed assure baseline quality, albeit its current orientation towards publicly funded establishments. Thus accreditation of for-profit schools represents an imminent domain of future research

Topics: accreditation, quality assurance, self-evaluation, peer evaluation
Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2007
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/9583

Suggested articles



  1. (1987). Academic Strategy: The Management Revolution doi
  2. (2000). An Overview of U.S. Accreditation, CHEA'\ Council on Higher Education Accreditation, doi
  3. (1991). Applying the Deming Method to Higher Education: For More Effective Human Resource Management,
  4. (2000). Assessing Institutional Performance: The Importance of Being Careful,"
  5. (1986). Assessment of institutional effectiveness at the
  6. (1990). Case Study Methods,
  7. (1984). Case Study,
  8. (2000). Confederation of EU Rectors' Conferences and the Association of European Universities (CRE)
  9. (1998). Didaktik and/or Curriculum: doi
  10. (2000). Directorate-General for Education and Culture doi
  11. (2006). Directorate-General for Education and Culture, doi
  12. (1993). Ethnography and Qualitative Design doi
  13. (2006). Ethnostatistics and Sensemaking, Making Sense of University and Business School Accreditation and Rankings" doi
  14. (2005). European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) doi
  15. (2002). External Evaluation and Inspection"
  16. (1985). Fitness for Purpose"
  17. (2000). Fuzzy Generalisations and Best Estimates of Trustworthiness: a step towards transforming research knowledge about learning into effective teaching practice"
  18. (1994). Handbook of Qualitative Research, London: Sage Publications Ltd. doi
  19. (2002). Higher Education in the Age of Globalization"
  20. (1982). Institutional Performance Assessment under Conditions of Changing Needs",
  21. (1998). Intensive English Programme created for Fall
  22. (1996). Inter Views: An introduction to qualitative research interviewing. doi
  23. (2006). Interpreting Qualitative Data: Methods for Analysing Talk, Text and Interaction, Third Edition. Thousand Oaks, doi
  24. (1997). Inventing Better Schools, an Action Plan for Educational Reform, doi
  25. (2000). Le Comite National d'Evaluation. An Innovation in French Higher Education"
  26. (2000). Making Sense of the Role of Culture in School Improvement" doi
  27. (1989). Northeast Missouri State University's Value Added Assessment Program: a model for educational accountability"
  28. (1993). Planning and Accomplishing School-centered El'o/uation,
  29. (1994). Qualitative Data Analysis, doi
  30. (2000). Qualitative Methods doi
  31. (1996). Qualitative Research Design - An Integrative Approach,
  32. (1992). Qualitative Research for Education, Second Edition.
  33. (2006). Quality Assurance Agency doi
  34. (2006). Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education doi
  35. (2002). Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications in Higher Education in an International Perspective"
  36. (1974). Quality Control Handbook, Third Edition,
  37. (2004). Quantum Business",
  38. (2002). Recognition in the European Region: Response to Recent Challenges from Inside and Outside"
  39. (1994). Research Design,
  40. (1992). Self Regulation in Higher Education: a multi-national perspective on collaborative systems of quality assurance and control. Great Britain: doi
  41. (1998). Systems and Structures or Myths and Fable? A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Curriculum Content"
  42. (1998). The Common Frame and the Places of Didaktik"
  43. (2002). The European Higher Education Area and Recognition of Qualifications in the Context of Globalization"
  44. (2007). The Halo Effect ... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers, doi
  45. (1994). The New Economics for Industry, Government, Education, Second Edition, doi
  46. (2003). The teacher's soul and the terrors of performativity", doi
  47. (2002). Time-ordered matrix of accreditation visits from 2002-2004, Substantive Change of Ownership and Status Event/
  48. (2002). Understanding Quality"
  49. (1999). Using Qualitative Methods in Organizational Research, doi
  50. (1985). What is Total Quality Control?,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.