Benchmarking for Quality Assurance

Benchmarking for Quality Assurance

SUMMARY

The Benchmarking for Quality Assurance Procedure establishes and facilitates Macquarie University’s use of Benchmarking for Quality Assurance as a methodology to assess fitness for purpose. Benchmarking for Quality Assurance usually involves comparison against adopted standards or the use of a survey instrument that is a proxy measure for desired outcomes. It is therefore often undertaken for accountability and compliance purposes.

PROCEDURE

Purpose

To facilitate the use of Benchmarking for Quality Assurance as a methodology to assess fitness for purpose. This methodology contrasts with Benchmarking for Quality Enhancement, which is designed to achieve the strategic goals of the University. 

Benchmarking for Quality Assurance usually involves comparison against adopted standards or the use of a survey instrument that is a proxy measure for desired outcomes. It is therefore often undertaken for accountability and compliance purposes.

The benefits of Benchmarking for Quality Assurance are:
  • regular usage of a survey instrument, the testing against standards and one-off reviews provide valuable evidence and input to decision-making 
  • individually, it provides input to Performance Development and Review (PDR) and academic promotion processes
  • organisationally, it provides data on where the University is performing well and where there are opportunities for improvement
  • comparison with data from peers facilitates discussion about the inputs and processes that achieved the results and hence may lead into Benchmarking for Quality Enhancement.

Procedure

This procedure requires actions by the following:
 Benchmarking for Quality Assurance is a cyclical activity with the following steps:
  • Commence a Project
  • Agree Methodology, Scope and Focus
  • Obtain Sign-off
  • Assign Responsibility for Data Collection
  • Collect, Analyse and Report data
  • Respond to Findings
  • Perform Further Benchmarking

Project Owner

Commence a Project
Respond to a need for a Benchmarking for Quality Assurance project and commence a project.

Benchmarking may be initiated:
  • external to the University
  • internally as an input to Benchmarking for Quality Enhancement
  • for regular reviews of academic units and programs
  • for other reviews and projects.

Agree Methodology, Scope and Focus
External
If Benchmarking for Quality Assurance is undertaken for compliance purposes, this step is undertaken external to the University. Examples include university involvement with Federal Government initiatives like the Course Experience Questionnaire (CEQ), Postgraduate Research Experience Questionnaire (PREQ) and Graduate Destination Survey (GDS).

Internal
If Benchmarking for Quality Assurance is undertaken for internal purposes as part of a regular review of units or programs, there is no need for a formal agreement or process to adopt a standard or survey instrument. Examples include the Learner Experience of Teaching (LET) and Learner Experience of Unit (LEU). However, co-ordinate with the staff who need to track which unit is due for review and to book the survey through the Learning and Teaching Centre (LTC).

Where there is a one-off Benchmarking for Quality Assurance project between Macquarie University and another university or between internal organisational units of Macquarie University, you will need to prepare an informal agreement. 

Include in the agreement:
  • the purpose of the benchmarking
  • the methodology and standards or instruments to be used
  • identification of the subjects
  • timing of the benchmarking
  • resources required
  • roles and responsibilities
  • access to, and usage of the results, for example, in a publication or conference paper

Obtain Sign-off
Obtain agreement sign-off from the Executive Dean or Head of Department.  This ensures resourcing is available and avoids duplication.  It is important to be strategic, especially with student feedback surveys, to ensure that survey fatigue does not occur.

Assign Responsibility for Data Collection
Co-ordinate the data collection and analysis with a staff member in Macquarie Analytics or the LTC.

Respond to Findings
Review the results of the data collection and respond and report appropriately.

Perform Further Benchmarking
Often Benchmarking for Quality Assurance is completed with the reporting of results but it can also lead into Benchmarking for Quality Enhancement.  

Executive Dean/Head of Department

Sign off Benchmarking for Quality Assurance agreements between Macquarie University and other universities, or between Macquarie University organisational units.

Staff member, Macquarie Analytics or Learning and Teaching Centre

Collect, Analyse and Report Data
Perform data collection and analysis.
Report findings to the Project Owner.

Procedure Information

Contact OfficerExecutive Officer, Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Provost)
Date Approved25 March 2010
Approval AuthorityQuality Enhancement Committee
Date of Commencement1 April 2010
Amendment Historyn/a
Date for Next ReviewApril 2013
Related DocumentsBenchmarking for Quality Enhancement Procedure
Quality Enhancement Policy
KeywordsBenchmarking, Quality Assurance, Quality Enhancement, Reviews, Standards
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