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ERIC Number: ED525092
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Nov-24
Pages: 35
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-9266-1228-7
Up to Par: The Challenge of Demonstrating Quality in Canadian Post-Secondary Education. Challenges in Canadian Post-Secondary Education
Canadian Council on Learning
When viewed holistically, Canada lacks a clear and common understanding of the future directions and top priorities of its post-secondary education (PSE) sector. Perhaps as a result, Canada has not yet comprehensively addressed a fundamental question: How does it demonstrate quality in PSE? To answer this question requires clarification of many issues, including the roles that various institutions and sectors play. It also requires the development of a shared vision of PSE, of what can and should be achieved. Despite much discussion among leaders of various education sectors in Canada, an agreement on a plan of action has yet to be reached. Indeed, a national dialogue on this critical issue is needed. The Canadian Council on Learning (CCL) recognizes that all issues in PSE are highly complex. For example, tensions can arise between the tradition of institutional autonomy and the need for transparency and accountability. Agreement on how to understand and assess quality across Canadian PSE is particularly challenging because of jurisdictional issues. There are 13 educational jurisdictions in Canada (provinces and territories), each with different types of institutions whose mandates and missions vary. In this context, a single approach may not be appropriate or acceptable. Further, indicators that are comparable across institutions may not be readily available. This monograph investigates these issues in depth, beginning with a review of key concepts and approaches to defining and measuring quality. The next section provides a contextual framework by examining the various trends and pressures that affect quality in the PSE sector, such as the increasing diversity of systems, rising costs and expanding demand for PSE among mobile students worldwide. The third section provides examples of how quality-measurement and quality-assurance approaches have been used in different contexts. Next follows an examination of various methods of quality assurance that are currently in place in Canada. The monograph concludes with a view to the future, and a brief look at options that provide a means to demonstrate and improve the quality of Canada's PSE systems. A bibliography is included. (Contains 1 figure and 71 endnotes.) [For related reports, see "Tallying the Costs of Post-Secondary Education: The Challenge of Managing Student Debt and Loan Repayment in Canada. Challenges in Canadian Post-Secondary Education" (ED525094); and "Navigating Post-Secondary Education in Canada: The Challenge of a Changing Landscape. Challenges in Canadian Post-Secondary Education" (ED525096).]
Canadian Council on Learning. c/o University of Ottawa, 50 Laurier East Suite 108, Ottawa, ON K1N 1H7, Canada. Tel: 613-569-7600; Fax: 613-569-6129; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Canadian Council on Learning
Identifiers - Location: Canada