Systemic adaptation to a changing environment: Towards a next generation of quality assurance models

Margarita Jeliazkova, Don F. Westerheijden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Quality assessment has been part of thefeedback mechanisms of European highereducation systems since around 1980. Due tointernal dynamics, `erosion' of theeffectiveness of first-generation qualityassessment systems has led to loss ofcredibility (legitimacy) of these systems inthe late 1990s. External dynamics alsonecessitate designing a next generation ofquality assurance systems. They include notablya loss of transparency (hence, legitimacy) ofthe European higher education system throughincreased internationalisation (most notablythrough the Bologna process) which puts new,increased demands on institutional arrangementsfor quality assurance.In this paper, we first intend to schematisethe developments of quality assurance in highereducation by introducing a phase model of theeffects of internal and external dynamics.Next, we will analyse this phase model from theperspective of argumentative policy inquiry.Finally, we will contrast policy developmentsin higher education with one other example,viz. environmental policy in the Netherlands.The conclusions of this comparison, as well asthe new challenges set for quality assurance inhigher education by the Bologna process, arethe subject matter for the final section of ourpaper.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-448
Number of pages16
JournalHigher education
Issue number3/4
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • IR-60094
  • METIS-210164
  • Bologna process
  • Cross-sector comparison
  • Phase model
  • Policy argumentation
  • Quality assurance


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