Quality Assurance Agency
From Researching Virtual Initiatives in Education
The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) is an independent body and registered charity whose stated mission is to "safeguard standards and improve the quality of UK higher education". QAA prepares and publishes guidance, in consultation with the UK higher education sector, on what UK universities and other higher education institutions expect of themselves and of each other - and what, likewise, students and the public may expect of them.
Review activity to ensure the robustness of UK higher education is the central element of QAA's work. Under contract to government (via the higher education funding councils), QAA conducts periodic external peer reviews of UK universities and other higher education providers. QAA has also been designated by government to provide educational oversight for colleges wishing to obtain UK Border Agency Tier 4 accreditation in order to recruit overseas students. QAA advises government (the Privy Council) on decisions about which institutions should be granted degree awarding powers and the right to be called a university. QAA also regulates the Access to Higher Education Diploma.
QAA publishes its review reports on its website. Each report contains a series of judgements about standards and quality, together with recommendations for improvement. Reports also highlight good practice. Part of QAA's mission is to disseminate its findings about good practice as an aid to enhancing higher education provision throughout the UK, as well as in other countries where it is provided on behalf of UK awarding bodies.
QAA's website is http://www.qaa.ac.uk/.