The article analyses the role of peer review within broader external quality assurance schemes. Based on an analytical framework emphasising that modern quality assurance schemes are designed as a balancing act between standardised guidelines and professional judgement, the article uses data from a recent evaluation of NOKUT, the Norwegian Quality Assurance Agency, to investigate whether and how the peer review process has maintained its central role in quality assurance, not least with respect to promoting excellence and diversity. The findings indicate that what is presented as judgements based on peer expertise, turn out to be a rather technical process in which pre-defined rigid criteria and standards are imperative. In the conclusion, the role of peer review is discussed in relation to developments in European higher education.
- Peer review
- Quality assurance
- European standards and guidelines