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ERIC Number: EJ871843
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 13
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 31
ISSN: ISSN-0968-4883
Quality, Semantics and the Two Cultures
Poole, Brian
Quality Assurance in Education: An International Perspective, v18 n1 p6-18 2010
Purpose: The aims of this paper are twofold: first, to engage with the definition of quality as "excellence" and to show why this could be regarded as unhelpful and misleading; and, second, to suggest some factors which contribute to a "cultural divide" between quality assurance specialists in universities and their colleagues who are full-time academics. In both cases the paper seeks to raise and explore these issues because their resolution may suggest ways forward for quality assurance in higher education. Design/methodology/approach: The paper is generally based on consideration and critical evaluation of published work relevant to the two issues mentioned previously. However, other forms of evidence are drawn into the argument. Notably, lexical data from the British National Corpus are examined in order to substantiate points about the semantics of the word "quality". Findings: The paper finds, on the grounds of both lexical semantics and consideration of scholarly literature on quality assurance in higher education, that it is unhelpful to understand the term "quality" as equivalent to "excellence". It also identifies possible reasons why a "cultural divide" exists between university lecturers and quality assurance specialists. Originality/value: The paper should be of interest to both quality assurance specialists and lecturers in universities. It offers logical, language-based reasons why "quality" should not be regarded as "excellence" and goes on to relate this to the notion of "quality enhancement". Preliminary suggestions are also made about means through which the "cultural divide" between academics and quality assurance specialists might be narrowed, to the potential benefit of universities seen as both complex entrepreneurial organizations, and academic communities. (Contains 4 notes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom