Benchmarking as an Instrument for Continuous Improvement in a Regulated Higher Education Quality Assurance Environment

Fernando F. Padró (University of Southern Queensland, Australia) and Michael Sankey (Griffith University, Australia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 73
EISBN13: 9781522577447|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5288-8.ch002
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Benchmarking by higher education institutions (HEIs) has been evolving for some time in Australia and New Zealand. Earlier efforts were focused on improving reputation, but now benchmarking has become a required component of higher education quality assurance, or regulatory compliance schemes. ACODE's benchmarking framework and the ACODE Benchmarks provide Australasian HEIs with the ability to review their technology enhanced learning (TEL) practices and decision-making against what is considered “good” practice. The ACODE benchmarking framework and its benchmarks also allow HEIs to inform quality audit, or regulatory compliance reporting by HEIs to maintain institutional recognition and demonstrate performance against threshold or other specific performance standards. ACODE's benchmarking framework and benchmarks are recognized as influencers in benchmarking practice. However, there is a need to generate empirical data to demonstrate its leadership role and review the benchmarks for present purposes and to determine how they are used by HEIs. Thus, in effect, this case study represents a view of the increasing importance of benchmarking in higher education quality assurance schemes—at least in some national sectors—through the lens of benchmarking the benchmarks. The case presents the ongoing efforts, providing available data from one completed round and a still to be completed second round of what has become a biennial exercise. Findings so far suggest increasing interest in using the ACODE benchmarks to assist in determining performance within HEI TEL-related issues and in HEI participation in the benchmarking the benchmarks exercise as a means of learning from each other's practice.
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