19 November 2015 | EQAF Paper

What do the indicators tell?

Jon Haakstad


Input factors have always been an important element in the evaluation of education. Another approach is to highlight outcomes, and yet a third to listen to the students’ assessment of course and programme quality. Ideally, correspondences between these three perspectives should make up a logical picture; performance indicators on factors like intake, input and outcome, plus the students’ appreciation of quality, should present a consistent body of information that allows us to make reasonable assessments of the quality of provision. But to what extent do we actually find these correspondences and this consistency in the data?

In other words: Can we rely on the indicators that we refer to so often in our quality discussions? A study of certain key data for all Norwegian BA and MA programmes in biology, political science and nursing suggests that performance indicators tell us much about performance but may indicate less about quality.


This paper was presented at EQAF and reflects the views of the named authors only.

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